‘Gazaland Police Station’ by PaDen Network - Arts for the Good of the Youth

By Takudzwa Hillary Chiwanza

Tinaye Wayne Chiketa, a young rising comedian armed with fierce and unflinching determination, is a name some of you may be familiar with. That is if you have been keenly following Zimbabwe’s comedy spaces. Or if you are not acquainted with the name, at least you may happen to know the face from his exploits via Simuka Comedy or through his performances at the University of Zimbabwe, or via multiple screen productions by Magamba Network on YouTube. He has also featured at Shoko Festival editions.

GAZALAND POLICE STATION WATCH Paden Network, Magamba Network, Moto Republik
PaDen Network's mission is helping African youths own their narratives through a conflation of humour and technology/social media/internet.

His steady metamorphosis in the comedy terrains of Zimbabwe has been a remarkable one; he is now PaDen Network’s founder and creative director. It’s a new reality – along with the responsibilities – that excites him beyond measure.

On inquiring about the broad vision of PaDen Network, he buoyantly quips, “PaDen Network envisions being a groundbreaking icon of the awesomeness of African arts, and in ways that fire adventurous optimism amongst the youth [of today].”

He envisages PaDen Network as, “an innovation hub that rides on the beauty of the arts to empower communities to tell their stories.” In Tinaye Wayne is a fiery zeal to enable Africa’s younger populations to own their narratives and tell their stories in manners that befit their contexts.  

And people have conveyed warm receptions to PaDen Network’s captivating web series titled Gazaland Police Station, rich in both its cast and storyline as it mounts a valiant attempt to highlight the inefficiencies of public systems such as law enforcement.

“A new series that uses humour to investigate corruption in the police force” – this is how the show is described on Magamba TV’s YouTube channel, which publishes the episodes of Gazaland Police Station.

Gazaland Police Station aims to engage the viewer, mainly the younger audiences, on issues around organized and perennial corruption within the government’s law enforcement agencies. And with a viewership in excess of 100 000 across various media per episode, the production has been a colossal success to the team at PaDen Network [and Magamba Network] – translating to a million views after the 10 episodes.

Even more interesting is the fact that Gazaland Police Station is ticking the right boxes in underserved and low-resource settings - in slums and peri-urban communities – traditionally outside the “domain” of internet-hosted entertainment. PaDen Network attributes the production’s success to having carefully cast the net wider in terms of the actors/actresses; most of them are slum dwellers, and the connection with slum communities becomes effortless.

Tinaye Wayne Chiketa

This represents positive growth for the team’s movement which started off as a loose coalescence of college-going artists who wanted to influence students’ politics using the powerful allure and force of the arts. Tinaye is super proud of his college days exploits as his comical experiences ere forged by such formative years [he obtained his tertiary studies at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare].

PaDen Network, he says, “is still heavily involved in arts for activism in Zimbabwean colleges/varsities through a project called Chaseka Comedy’’ – and he is immensely grateful of the help he has received, particularly from the XminusY Foundation of the Netherlands.

The XminusY Foundation enabled PaDen Network to connect the student movement to grassroots activism - particularly the #ZimbabweLivesMatter variations (though we strongly think for future purposes, social media activism via such hashtags as rallying points for collective solidarity should be properly defined to avoid such movements being of a short-term nature/ephemeral).

Chaseka Comedy (a project by PaDen Network) uses the infectious power of laughter to propel the student activism to gain increased interest in matters to do with the political economy – not only on a local scale but globally as well.

Students’ politics should address and propagate issues that define and shape the collective destiny and consciousness of students – and as such, arts-inspired campaigns nationwide must come to fruition. This is what PaDen Network is passionately committed to. And the undying support of Magamba Network via Moto Republik should always be appreciated. 

You can watch Gazaland Police Station by Tinaye Chiketa’s brainchild PaDen Network  via this YouTube link and share your feedback with us.

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