Zimbabwean music reaches out beyond the country’s borders when it is featured on DStv platforms created to expose the music of Africa to a continental audience.
Channels such as Trace Africa, MTV Base, Channel O and Trace Gospel feature a range of performers and help show the people of Africa something of the talent for which Zimbabwe is known. But it’s not only the music and the musicians who get a boost, since the dance of music videos is as eagerly followed by viewers as the songs.
Behind the choreography in a number of such videos is John Cole, increasingly popular as a man of innovative dance backing up great Zimbabwean sounds.
He has been in a journey of dance and choreography for almost 10 years and feels the effort and hard work in getting established and known is paying off.
“With humility I can say I have worked, sweated and bled for what I have achieved today, which is what I call the #dancewithjohncole experience,” he said.
“I am who I am now not because of my own effort, of course, as many people have supported, encouraged and helped me along the way, with likes, love, referrals and hiring me to do the job.
“So I say that John Cole is the people’s choreographer and that the real heroes are the ones who support me; so thank you, everyone!
He believes a combination of elements drove him down his current path, and he told sceptics and detractors: “I will do it.”
He said: “Edric Godzongere mentored me to be a choreographer and he says he is proud of the choreographer that I am today. My mother was a big influence, too, as she danced with me most of the time I was young.”
To get where he is now, he had to sacrifice family time, sleep and a lot of good times. He expresses himself in his art and “I dance it rather than say it.”
Dancing with his sons on stage provides some of his happiest moments, while helping develop the dance landscape in Zimbabwe and helping dance become more respected are life highlights, as was his sold-out concert John Cole Unplugged some time ago.
His inspiration comes from international and local sources, from Usher and Chris Brown to various African artistes of top-end creativity.
John also feels success comes from a mix of professionalism, drive, focus and vision – “added to which is a hustler’s mentality,” he said with tongue in cheek.
“To succeed you must always be hungry to be the best,” he said
Videos featuring his dance creations are being seen on DStv, including Xhexhe with Ashta Eez, who is at present based in Poland. Others feature the likes of Mukoko, Ngoro, Setter Pace, Watora Moyo, Ngaibake and Tinofamba Nenyasha.
“No lie – it’s an awesome feeling watching these on DStv, knowing millions could be watching with me” he said. John also became involved in the annual DStv Eutelsat Star Awards competition, mentoring high school students who wished to enter. “That was a fun experience, and I was thrilled the students were well versed with who I am and what I have done,” said John.
“It’s mind blowing, because as a boy who sold vegetables and was a gardener, you can imagine the jump from there to here. I am glad DStv channels see my work as viable, visible and bankable as a whole. Thanks to Liz Dziva of MultiChoice Zimbabwe for helping make it happen.”
John’s family are the superheroes of his life and his children keep him focused, “holding down the fort at Colenation.”
“So thank you Cindy Cole, Avant Cole, Duncan Cole for keeping me sane and on track.” The future is big and bold, and full of opportunities: “a dance academy, a record label,
CEO of several companies,” he said. And it won’t stop there for John Cole.