Tanatsei Gambura ’17 Wins Prestigious Diana Award for Social Impact Work

ALA alumnus Tanatsei Gambura ’17 was recently named a Diana Award recipient for her crucial work with 25 May Movement – a creative collective that she founded at the age of 17 in Zimbabwe.

The prestigious Diana Award seeks to recognize some of the most inspirational young people from across the UK and the world. It looks for “exceptional young people who have demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilize new generations to serve their communities and create long-lasting change on a global scale.” The award is dubbed as the most prestigious accolade any young person aged 9-25 can receive for their social action. 

About the 25 May Movement

After a growing frustration of the developmental challenges rampaging the African continent, Zimbabwean-born Tanatsei Gambura decided enough was enough. “When I was seventeen, I pushed to start what has become the 25 May Movement to create awareness and sense of responsibility for people in my community about the future of the continent,” she says. “I was nearing the end of my high school years and felt more and more that every individual is in themselves the ‘somebody’ that they expect to do something.”

And so Tanatsei became that ‘somebody’ and launched the 25 May Movement (a name derived from Africa Day) with her peers. The mission? To build a vibrant, dynamic and sustainable creative sector that contributes to development in Africa. The Movement boldly and correctly claims that “communities around the world have cultural practices and means for creative expression – tools to navigate life.” It is correct, then, to use these cultural practices to create and establish a culture of tolerance, unity and ethical intentionality in our societies – to take the arts as seriously as we do other sectors, to shape the societies we want to live in.

The movement, which started simply with what Tanatsei had (her poetic prowess, a camera and a group of friends), has morphed into a collective that has run a nationwide broadcasting series in Zimbabwe, facilitates seminal workshops, publishes short films, works with twenty-four beneficiaries to provide children under fourteen years of age to empowering programs for free; work that has been seen by organizations such as United Nations Women, the Swedish Embassy in Zimbabwe and Impact Hub.

The Diana Award meets the 25 May Movement

The Diana Award is a phenomenal stepping stone for the movement as recipients are entered into a network of mentorship and are given growth opportunities through capacity-building programs. For Tanatsei, this award is an affirmation.

“It is the encouragement I need to continue striving for a better life for people in and beyond my community,” she says. I admire the personal commitment that Princess Diana of Wales had in her life to humanitarian work and peace efforts around the world. She was a steadfast, courageous woman who learned what it means to uphold values and convictions. I am reminded to continue pursuing a noble fight for the dignity of African people.”

About Tanatsei Gambura:

Tanatsei Gambura is a 20-year-old multidisciplinary artist and cultural producer who not only enjoys exploring people, places and things through the arts but is passionate about creating experiences that are capable of moving the human spirit. She has established herself on theatrical stages in her home country and South Africa where she was a trailblazing student at African Leadership Academy. This September, she will be embarking on an exciting new journey as a student at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, United Kingdom, under the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.