I had been hearing a lot about MoTIV. I even interviewed C.K Japheth, team lead of The Innovation Village about it mid 2020 but I had not yet visited it. Most ashamed to say. But this Saturday, I got the opportunity to visit and tour the place. The MoTIV team were gracious enough to host a membership brunch for the public, for those who were interested in becoming members of the MoTIV. You are probably wondering what MoTIV is all about. Well, let me enlighten you.
MoTIV is the Makerspace of The Innovation Village. It was founded in March 2020. It is a tribe of talented makers. They provide a space in which makers have access to high quality innovative machinery, training and can collaborate and inspire each other. They aim to create a growing and thriving creative industry in East Africa. Nooowww do you see why I am so interested in this place?
I don’t even know what I went expecting. Having been to various hubs in the country,I was really wondering how this set up would be different and intentionally geared towards creatives. I am happy to announce that MoTIV delivered, way and above.
MoTIV as they say, not me, in three words is Tools, Tribe and Marketplace.
Creative People are hubs of diverse interests, influences, behaviors, qualities and ideas- and through their work, they find a way to bring these many disparate elements together.Scott Barry Kaufman
You need to visit to believe it but MoTIV has acquired a series of warehouses each dedicated to a particular industry or as they say vertical. We have the Media, People, Textile and Wood and Metal. For all of you in the media industry, I am calling out all content creators, filmmakers, podcasters, script writers, please just visit the place. All your dreams are coming true in just one place. There is an infinity wall and that’s just a teaser.
As for those in textiles, they are creating a periodic table of materials. I think you didn’t get that. Let me break it down. They are creating a periodic table of all known materials in Africa so we are talking about cotton, papyrus, bark cloth, leather and many more. It is endless and I am excited to see what is going to be brought to light. Researchers and Designers, this is your place. They have over 90 sewing machines that do all sorts of things from locking to embroidery. I can’t sew a button to save my life but I am tempted, very tempted.
Wood and Metal- I have no words. We have been quarrelling about carpenters and all. Believe me when I say those days are over. They have a team of talented avatars, yes avatars who can bend wood and metal into sculpture and furniture all with a quality finish. Now, are you going to say that I didn’t tell you?
As for the people/co-working space, I took a stroll through Kololo, passed via State House, got some ka chai in Nansana and finally ended with fish by the lake in Entebbe. Yes, you got it right. They have named various workspaces after places in Uganda and I have my eye on Entebbe. This entire place was designed with sustainability in mind. There is a huge wood sculpture that graces the foyer. You just have to see it to believe the creativity and while you are at it, there is an art exhibition going on by Kwizera, a visual artist that will evoke emotions you haven’t felt before.
Then we have the marketplace. An online and offline shop to sell your products. You will go through an intense scrutiny to make sure your product is par with international standards. But isn’t it necessary in these times since we are competing not only locally but globally?
Soon opening up is the Kitchen Space where every equipment required to make scrumptious and delectable meals will be present. I envision Bakers creating The Great Ugandan Bake Off series right there and you never know, we might have a MasterChef right here in our nation. We could be looking at seeing Ugandan cuisine all over the world. Imagine strolling by 5th Avenue and the whiff of Luwombo slaps you or going down the canal in Venice and a call out for Olel goes out- Smoked Fish in tangy, tomato and peanut butter sauce served with baked yellow sweet potatoes and a side of Boyo.
So to all the makers out there, I call upon you to check this place out. According to MoTIV, a maker is anyone that produces tangible and intangible goods and services that use creativity and intellectual capital as the primary inputs. They include artisans, visual artists, designers, musicians and writers among many others.
And yes there is a membership to this. I know I know. As an emerging creative, there has been a cry about the costs of hubs. But let’s be realistic-to grow as a creative takes more than just talent. We do need the collaboration, space, access to equipment that we can not buy on our own. So this is an investment in our future. And MoTIV has heard our cry with their costs being quite reduced. I was pleasantly surprised. It is affordable and I know affordability is relative but what would you do for your creative future??? That is definitely for you to answer.
But MoTIV is giving out 50 free memberships to creatives. These creatives will go on to be the face of the MoTIV brand. You can apply through the website. I have indeed done so and I believe I will soon be blogging about being part of the 50. You know me- Believe and Act on it. I have applied. What are you waiting for?
Eugene Kavuma, Community Lead of MoTIV started off the brunch with a keynote speech and He said something very interesting. He likened MoTIV to the systems in the body. I was intrigued because I had never thought of it but when he broke it down, it made sense. The human body has 11 systems. Yes, our bodies have 11 systems which include;
- Circulatory system / Cardiovascular system: Circulates blood around the body via the heart, arteries and veins, delivering oxygen and nutrients to organs and cells and carrying their waste products away.
- Digestive system and Excretory system: System to absorb nutrients and remove waste via the gastrointestinal tract, including the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines.
- Endocrine system: Influences the function of the body using hormones.
- Integumentary system / Exocrine system: Skin, hair, nails, sweat and other exocrine glands
- Immune system and lymphatic system: Defends the body against pathogens that may harm the body.
- Muscular system: Enables the body to move using muscles.
- Nervous system: Collects and processes information from the senses via nerves and the brain and tells the muscles to contract to cause physical actions.
- Renal system and Urinary system: The system where the kidneys filter blood to produce urine, and get rid of waste.
- Reproductive system: The reproductive organs required for the production of offspring.
- Respiratory system: Brings air into and out of the lungs to absorb oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.
- Skeletal System: Bones maintain the structure of the body and its organs.
These systems work together. One can not be without the other. One system is not an island as we humans as a whole are not islands. There is a symbiotic relationship to it all. And that is exactly the creative industry-To develop the creative industry in East Africa, we need to understand that as creatives, we are not islands. We can not function alone. We need collaboration. We need community. We need courage and creativity. And that is why MoTIV exists.: To create a community for the creatives in east Africa to collaborate, inspire each other, create together and develop not only themselves and their art but their nations.
With 2021 being declared by the UN as the year of the creative economy for sustainable development, what better year than this year can creatives rise up and shine their light? What better place can creatives congregate to do exactly that? We need to understand as creatives that the only person or people who can change, who can rebrand, who can rewrite the narrative of the creative economy in Africa is us? No-one else. So we can not complain about our industry and the mindset towards it by others if we ourselves are doing nothing about it. It has been touted from the roofs that we need to be the change we wish to see.
We are the champions, my friends And we’ll keep on fighting till the end We are the champions We are the champions No time for losers’ Cause we are the champions of the WorldWe are the champions~ Sang by Queen, Written by Freddie Mercury
So this is a call out to all creatives- Be the change you wish to see. Be the instigator. Be the accelerator. Be the artist. Be the storyteller. Be the Light. Be the champion. Take that step and do what needs to be done. There are 17 sustainable development goals. What are you doing about just one goal? One ? Are you writing about it? Are you creating art? Are you using sustainable products? What are you doing to make sure that your art has impact? Social impact? Emotional impact? Physical impact? What are you doing to leave a legacy through your art? Will you be the Van Gogh of this generation? Or Bob Dylan? or Gerda Taro? What will be said of you?
Creatives, hear the call. I hope your hearts and minds have been stirred to want to be part of the change. Because a revolution has come to Africa. Africa The Time is Now! And we are not fighting with guns and bullets. No, we are fighting with our gifts. And our ideas. And our concepts. And our creativity.
We are at the forefront. The battle lines have been drawn. Pick up your weapon- Your pen. Your brush. Your dance moves. Your scissors. Your camera. Your spatula. Pick up your weapon and create!!! That’s all we ask. And remember, You are the light. The one who will cast out the darkness from the creative economy in Africa. The one who will show the potential of it all. The one who will make a difference. You are a champion. Because that’s who you are. Say it, This is Me!