Musicians line up Women's Day concert

HARARE - Afro-jazz artistes Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana and Rute Mbangwa will share the stage with explosive Bulawayo-based acappella group Nobuntu on Saturday in an International Women’s Day celebratory concert at the Book Café.

Katomeni-Mbofana is an undoubted darling of the stage and screen in Zimbabwe, with a rich and long-running career in the arts since childhood.

After appearing in the film More Time as a scrawny teenager, the BP hit-maker went on to establish a solid reputation as a highly-skilled and gifted jazz deliverer who has performed with some of southern Africa’s top  artistes.

The delightful Katomeni-Mbofana will be joined on stage by the equally-gifted Mbangwa. The Rute Goes Kumanginde singer, who is a product of the Children’s Performing Arts Workshop (Chipawo) and the Book Café’s Female Literary, Arts and Music Enterprise (F.L.A.M.E), is widely regarded as one of Zimbabwe’s top jazz stars.

Though Katomeni-Mbofana and Mbangwa are, as usual, expected to deliver top-notch performances, the highlight of the International Women’s Day concert could turn out to be the debut performance in Harare by Nobuntu.

The five-member acappella group from the City of Kings presents an exciting fusion of traditional Zimbabwean music, Afro-jazz, gospel and crossovers. Formed in 2011, the group believes that music is the most important and original wheel of change, with the ability to transcend racial, trial, religious, gender and economic boundaries.

The purity of their voices and energy on stage prompted Deck Magazine to describe Nobuntu as “something about their music which makes one’s soul smile”.

After releasing their debut album Thina last year, the all female group went on a one-month tour of Austria and Germany.

Saturday’s International Women’s Day programme will also include the popular Sistaz Open Mic show that will see comedians, poets, visual artists, and fashion designers meet to celebrate just being women.

This segment will feature the works of poets Aura Mlilo, Tinashe Tafirenyika, Peggie Umind Shangwa, Sister Zai, Batsirai E Chigama, Tarie Kay, comedy from Kessia Magosha as well as music from Brezhnev Guveya, Caroleen Masawi and Blessing Chimanga.

The main stage of the venue will carry art and design by visual artist Christine Ndoro and fashion designer Sabina Mutsvati as a backdrop for around 35 women artists who will take to the stage through the day.

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made towards women’s empowerment, and time to call for change where women are disadvantaged.

The special day also presents a platform to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

Acappella group Nobuntu.Rute Mbangwa, left and Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana.

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