The arts play their part in Zimbabwe

Murals in rural Zimbabwe have been driving conversation and changing perceptions.

One public health mural in Manicaland, Zimbabwe
One public health mural in Manicaland, Zimbabwe


Since the end of 2020, murals have been painted in various public spaces around Zimbabwe’s predominantly rural Masvingo, Manicaland and Mashonaland East provinces, improving awareness on and creating dialogue around routine immunisation and other health services.

Health care worker Violet Musarapasi from Murambinda, Manicaland province says the murals have helped in spreading the message of the importance of routine immunisation.

"[The murals] create dialogue and raise awareness within the community and promote family participation in routine immunisation."

“The advent of these murals has seen a significant improvement in the number of mothers bringing their children for routine immunisation. This is a positive, considering that the community is dominated by apostolic sect members who have a long history of shunning child immunisation,” Musarapasi explains.

She adds, “Given the location of these murals, they are hard to ignore. We have had many people coming to ask about their meaning, which is an opportunity for us to give them more information on the importance of routine immunisation, I can safely say that the murals have played a big role in raising awareness. I am hoping we will see more painted across other communities.”

Marcus Zvinavashe, one of the artists behind the murals, says that he draws his inspiration from the need and responsibility to participate in the development of the country.

“We are the youth. We want our voices to be heard. We want to tell our stories the best way we can. We are driven by the need to contribute to the development of our communities and our country. We are re-imagining what it means to be a Zimbabwean youth. We are taking our place and beautifying our everyday spaces through murals and graffiti. Our goal is to re-imagine spaces, giving them new meaning and purpose. We want to influence the shift to new ways of thinking through education using murals and public engagement,” Zvinavashe says.

Christian Tsaurai, programmes manager at Yananai/Equality for People with Disability is appreciative of the murals and believes they make messaging accessible to some people living with disabilities.

Tsaurai says, “Art plays a critical role in spreading messages, especially to those with hearing problems and, for us, we appreciate this noble cause of bringing awareness through visuals. Our constituency consists of women who have hearing challenges and these drawings play a critical role in raising awareness on various health services. [The murals] create dialogue and raise awareness within the community and promote family participation in routine immunisation.”

Theresa Muchineripi, a Masvingo resident, concurs: “The drawings have been helpful in disseminating information relating to immunisation. Since the drawings were put on these walls, men and women have been encouraging each other on the need for routine immunisation. Traditional leaders have also embraced the same and have been at the forefront of encouraging religious leaders and the community to heed the messages in the murals.”