American artiste explains her Zim name

HARARE - Most Zimbabweans will most likely assume that anyone christened Tendayi has a lineage that can be traced to this country but an American artiste called Tendayi Kuumba proves the fallacy of such thinking.

Tendayi, a dancer and singer who was born in Washington 25 years ago, has no Zimbabwean heritage at all. She was given the Shona name which means appreciate by her mother who randomly selected it from a book of African names.

“It’s funny because we don’t have direct African roots but my mother is interested in African culture and life so she randomly picked the name,”said Tendayi who came to Zimbabwe for a joint music show with jazz musician Patience Musa at Misty’s Club on May Day.

“My mother is a professor who teaches women’s studies. She then learnt that it was a Shona and Zimbabwean name and she immediately liked it because she has been to Zimbabwe often, for vacation and for research purposes.”

Tendayi’s concerted efforts to trace her lineage has uncovered that her father is connected to the Caribbean Islands and also to Angola.

Though she has no Zimbabwean lineage, she is delighted to have finally visited the country that gave her a name.

“I love it here.Everyone is welcoming, warm and helpful and I love the music especially after I performed with Patience.”

The versatile American performer is already trying to explore how she can come back to perform in Zimbabwe on a bigger stage.

“People enjoyed the show we did at Misty’s .After the show with Patience we started talking about collaborations which is great because I enjoyed performing with her. I would love to come back as I really want to perform at the 2015 edition of the Harare International Festival of Arts (Hifa). I am enjoying Hifa as well,” she said.

“Hopefully we will do an African tour in the near future because I feel that African tours are not really considered especially in America where they have European tours. African tours are important in learning about the rich African culture.”

The 25 year old, who studied music, drama and psychology, told the Daily News on Sunday that she has a long association with the arts.

“I have been singing since I was seven and I am a singer, dancer, actress as in relation to my studies. My music is jazz. I grew up doing jazz. But I try to infuse R ‘n’ B and hip hop into my music.I compose my own music, I am also a pianist so I compose my own melodies.”

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