Emagumeni Presents: Zimbabwe's First Ever Tattoo Festival In Partnership With Heineken

Herewith is our conversation with Kuda Mangoma, the Creative Director of Emagumeni about the Tattoo Festival

Emagumeni in Helensvale, Harare will be host to the first ever tattoo festival in Zimbabwe this weekend. A day set to celebrate all things tattoos and hopefully foster the growth of tattoo culture in Zimbabwe. The festival is set for Sunday the 2nd of October, from 9 am - 11 pm. Emagumeni is partnering up with Heineken to bring this first together.

It won't be just tattoos on offer but other less permanent offerings, like body piercings, body art, henna, a sip & paint and the drinks, good food and great vibes Emagumeni is known for. With free entry and an amazing lineup of DJs that includes MadeHerBelieve, C Skillz, Beatsmith, Moogie, Tristan on Decks, and DJ Jay, it's the perfect something different to check out on a Sunday.

Emagumeni continues to place itself as a bridge for urban culture and it's growing more and more as a home for entertainment and the arts. We caught up with the Creative Director of Emagumeni, Kuda Mangoma to talk more about the upcoming event and he revealed that it's the beginning of something much more for tattoo culture in Zimbabwe.

Emagumeni Presents: Zimbabwe's First Ever Tattoo Festival In Partnership With Heineken

What inspired you guys to host this event?

I’ve had the dream of having a tattoo shop in Zim for a few years, but my brother initiated this actual festival idea, which I think is a fantastic start. I have over 40 tattoos and he doesn’t have any at all, but he gets the vision. A LOT of folks here ask me where I got my tattoos and if any have been done in Zim. That was an early indication of public interest. 

Our aim is to build and grow the tattoo community here, so we scouted some of the best tattoo artists in the country as their input and experience are vital. 

What can people expect?

The day is gonna feature tattoos, body piercing, body art, henna, sip x paint, and some of the hottest DJs right now; so, there’s a lot of opportunity for free expression of identity. 

Do you see there is genuine space for tattoo culture within the broader image of Zimbabwean culture?

From the reception so far, no doubt in my mind that this is a growing subculture within the nation. Obviously, Zimbabwe is a pretty conservative country, so it will take time for people’s negative perceptions towards tattooed folks evaporates, but, step by step, zvichaita chete to be at least ever so slightly less taboo.

Globally, in the past 50 years, tattoos have seen an 81.5% increase every single decade. People use tattoos as a way to express their identity. As the new generations of Zimbabwe emerge, so will their ink collections, and I reckon many of those tattoos will have to do with their connection to family, identity, and culture (e.g. totems, last names, etc.)

Is this a once-off or the beginning of something more?

This is absolutely just the beginning. New announcement soon.

Was finding a corporate in Heineken difficult for such a new event in our culture?

Heineken has a corporate agreement with our art space, Pikicha. They have seen value in what our creative direction is, and they’re excited to branch into new cultural areas. It was a task, but I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as, “difficult”.

How has been that partnership?

The partnership with Heineken has been positive. There are many more events and experiences we are creating together with them through Pikicha.

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