Tapiwa Gambura
Tapiwa Gambura 1.jpg
BornTapiwa Gambura
ResidenceSouth Africa
EducationAfrica Leadership Academy
Known forWinning the Jozi International Film Festival Award with her short film - Redefining the Road
  • Junior Gambura (mother)

Tapiwa Gambura is a Zimbabwean creative artist based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her work in the arts industry saw her win the Jozi Film Festival and Discovery Network's "Real Stories By Real People" award on 6 October 2019 with her short film, Redefining the Road.


At the age of 13, Tapiwa dreamed of becoming a writer and was especially passionate about writing with vivid imagery to bring her words to life. Alongside writing, Tapiwa acts, sings and performs public readings at local artistic events.[1]


Tapiwa is currently a student at the African Leadership Academy (ALA).


When ALA student Tapiwa Gambura purchased her very first camera in November 2018, she never imagined that less than a year later she would be the winner of a major film festival. Her passion lie between African Renaissance and feminism in which she hopes to bring African literature to a global scale and open the space for more female writers to emerge. Her rising activism has led her to be recognised by indepedent Zimbabwean organisations including Kubatana and Think like a Girl in which she was interviewed for both of them in the years 2017 and 2015 respectively. Having received a bumber of Honours awards from the National Institute of Allied arts for both writing and acting, Tapiwa believes that her talents are what she will use to positively shape the African society in an effort to pioneer African political and economic independence.

Tapiwa describes herself as naturally curious, and when she joined ALA’s class of 2018, Tapiwa found the Academy to be, a fertile space for her curiosity to be explored. After drawing inspiration from her teachers and classwork, as well as fellow students, Tapiwa began to save money to purchase her own camera, despite having never used one before. Soon after, she signed up for ALA’s Creative Arts class, taking the first step on what she sees as her journey from writing to “holding the camera.” As she began to explore photography further, telling stories with still images, she found herself wondering if those stories would mean more to people if they were told via film. As a final project for Creative Arts, Tapiwa shot her first film, Bvudzi, which explored the politics of hair and femininity through the lens of a young woman recollecting her experiences with her hair. She credits this project as a huge learning experience, further fueling her interest in film.

During a trip with ALA over her school holiday, one of Tapiwa’s teachers asked her, “What does travel mean to you and why?,” and the question stuck with her as she returned home to Zimbabwe for the summer. Tapiwa says that she soon found herself “thinking about travel as associated with privilege, but realizing that it’s not.” At that point, her next door neighbor Miriam immediately came to mind as an individual who didn’t fit into any of the stereotypes usually associated with travel, but still felt that she got to see the world through her job as a bus conductor. Miriam’s story, inspired her to create Redefining the Road, and she shot the entirety of the film with her own camera, the same one that she had purchased barely six months prior. She describes the filmmaking process as a whirlwind, ultimately planning, filming, and editing Redefining the Road in a little over a week. Upon returning to ALA, Tapiwa submitted the film to the Jozi Film Festival after encouragement from her mentor and other faculty members.[2]


  • 2020 NAMA Awards Outstanding Screen Production - Short Film - Redefining the Road.[3]
  • 2020 Girls Impact the World Film Festival Awards winner - Film - Bunzi
  • 2020 Girls Impact the World Film Festival Awards First runner up - Film - Not Your Bride


  1. [1], Behance, Accessed: 20 April, 2020
  2. http://www.africanleadershipacademy.org/blog/ala-student-tapiwa-gambura-announced-as-the-winner-of-the-jozi-film-festival], African Leadership Academy, Published: 1 November, 2019, Accessed: 20 April, 2020
  3. Tafadzwa Zimoyo, [2], The Herald, Published: 2 March, 2020, Accessed: 20 April, 2020