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HomeAbout usA Spoken World

[A Spoken World]


In 2016 Oslo Afro Arts Festival (previously known as Zimfest Oslo) started A Spoken World, an artist-exchange program in collaboration with Shoko Festival, Zimbabwe’s leading urban culture festival. The program aims to promote new talents and professional artists, as well as provide a platform for collaborations between Zimbabwean and Norway-based artists and musicians. The goal is to create a program that enables networking and exchange of musical skills and social and cultural competence.


In Zimbabwe the program is organised in close collaboration with our local coordinator Impi Maphango and Shoko Festival. In Oslo the program is organised by Oslo Afro Arts Festival manager Cecilie Giskemo.


Shoko Festival was started in 2011 in Harare, Zimbabwe, and has for the last six years grown to become Zimbabwe’s largest urban cultural festival. The festival was initiated by the organization Magamba , one of Zimbabwe’s leading urban cultural organizations, and offers concerts, DJ parties, comedy shows, Poetry Slam, Hub New Media program (training in New media and citizen journalism), seminars and lectures. The Peace in the Hood series is part of the festival´s extended program, which takes place in Harare’s densely populated rural areas, among others. a. Chitungwiza in Seke region. Shoko Festival has won Zim Hip Hop Promoter of the Year (2012 and 2013) and was a finalist in Words Beats & Life Prize USA (2013).


A Spoken World is an exchange of mainly young and/or newly established spoken-word artists and musicians, particularly within urban music genres. The participants from Norway are given the opportunity to travel to Zimbabwe, and vice versa, and experience and work within the countries´ art scenes. The project facilitates collaborations between participants from both countries, and together they create a concert and seminars that will be part of both OAAF and Shoko Festival’s program.


The workshops can consist of the following components, and be adjusted according to age group and venue:
• Creative writing
• Beat-boxing/rap
• Vocals/instruments (technique, musicianship skills and improvisation)
• Performance skills
• Discussion and reflection


Through workshops and artistic collaborations, the program offers a unique platform for the exchange of musical, poetic, artistic, cultural and social competence.


Whilst in Oslo, the Zimbabwean and Norwegian artists collaboratively prepare the repertoire towards a shared concert, which will have its world premiere during OAAF. In addition, the artists will prepare a seminar program held at several youth clubs, music- and culture schools and refugee centres in the Oslo region. The Zimbabwean artists will also perform at Open Xpressions at Cafeteatret, #Vårtnabolag (OWMF) – TBC, P2´s Radio program Jungeltelegrafen and as guest artists at Frank Znort´s Sunday Concerts at Blå. So far A Spoken World has collaborated with X-Ray Ungdomskulturhus (youth club), Agenda X, Skedsmo, Torshov and Lysaker refugee homes.


In Harare, the Norwegian artists will be based at Moto Republic in Harare, where they will network with Zimbabwe’s leading hip-hop and spoken-word artists, collaborate with local youth, host and attend lectures and seminars. In addition, they will host workshops at Zimbabwe College of Music, Music Crossroads Academy, and different community centres in and around rural and impoverished areas in Harare. The Norwegian artists will also record at Team No Sleep Studios, an independent studio in Harare´s largest ghetto: Mbare. The studio is an initiative by the Oslo-based Zimbabwean Ranga Matavire. Finally, the Norwegian and Zimbabwean artists will perform a concert in collaboration at Shoko Festival and Peace in the Hood in Chitungwiza.


A Spoken Word aims to:
• offer an arena for building and sharing competencies through networking, exchange of musical skills and creative writing expertise, exchange of social and cultural competence, and cultural entrepreneurship.
• create networks and strengthen collaborations between Norwegian and Zimbabwean musicians and Spoken-Word artists.
• create high-quality music workshops for refugees in transit in Norway.
• create meeting places for Norwegian and Zimbabwean musicians, young people and residents in refugee homes.
• allow refugees and young people, connected to youth clubs and refugee homes, the possibility to attend the OAAF festival as audience and as contributing performers.
• give more musicians the opportunity to work with music in a meaningful context.
• create a safe environment and good relationship between the artists and the youth and children in refugee homes.
• create new networks and strengthen collaborations between festivals in Norway and Southern Africa.
• highlight cultural diversity in the music and art scenes in Oslo and Harare.
• offer children and young people free workshops from professional teachers and musicians, focusing particularly on Hip-Hop and Spoken -Word.
• embrace the “freedom of speech” mentality, using this as an active tool in working creatively with children and youth.


2016: The Monkey Nuts (ZW) and African Sunz (NO)