Adura Onashile as Henrietta Lacks in the moving play 'Hela' at HIFA 2015.
Adura Onashile as Henrietta Lacks in the moving play ‘Hela’ at HIFA 2015.

What We Do

Zimbo Jam exists to do three things. First is to document the lives of artists and other notable Zimbabweans and the day to day events that reflect the country’s culture. The second is to celebrate the achievements of these people and others that make up the Zimbabwean society, and the third is to challenge artists, innovators, creatives and leaders of grassroots youth movements to do more and do better.

A Brief History

The Zimbo Jam story began in August 2000 when a company called Venekera Works was started in a garage at a house just outside the University of Zimbabwe by two students and a lecturer; Fungai Tichawangana, Brian Gondo and Tsitsi Masvaure, respectively.

Venekera Works was one of the first dedicated web development firms in Zimbabwe and from its very early days had the vision of building news portals.

1980

An attempt to build a Zimbabwe business website in 2001 fell flat on its face when the Venekera team tried to build the site using plain HTML pages. In those days there were no widely available open source content management systems like WordPress and Joomla.

Commercial content management systems cost thousands of dollars and had nowhere near the power of the free CMS platforms that are available on the web today.

1980

In 2004, using PHP Nuke, Venekera Works built Itsbho.com, an entertainment news website which grew to become one of the most popular sites in the country, reaching a point where the server crashed because it had so much traffic.

Venekera also started experimenting with a content management system called Mambo. An offshoot of this went on to become Joomla. The company built many sites with this platform, including, finally, a business portal.

1980

In 2007, Venekera Works, along with all the portals it had built, was bought by Celsys Limited. Unfortunately, by the beginning of 2008, all the web portals were no longer operational.

1980

In 2008, Tichawangana started ZimboJam.com to continue and expand on the work of itsbho.com.

The idea was to make the site very visual and to upload news faster than other websites. Tichawangana picked up his camera again and started covering events all over Harare, carrying out interviews and documenting activities¬†at Harare’s favourite hangouts.

Within a few months other publications were copying stories and photos from the site. In 2010 the National Arts Council recognised the efforts of Zimbo Jam and awarded it the first ever Outstanding Online Arts Website Award and the National Arts Merit Awards. Zimbo Jam went on to win this award two times in 2013 and 2014.

Over the years the site’s team has grown and shrunk a number of times as the business model has struggled to find balance, but the site continues to push on with its mission.

Zimbo Jam is currently working on a long term project to incorporate all the material from itsbho.com onto this website.

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