DzePamvura ploughs back into community

HARARE - Fast-rising Norton mbira centre — DzePamvura Mbira Centre — has stepped up efforts to develop the traditional music sub-sector in the country by equipping schools in the Mashonaland West town with a wide array of mbira instruments worth $33 000.

Inextricably tied to traditional Shona spiritual beliefs and cultural practices, the mbira is currently finding more recognition on foreign soils than it is at home.

Independent Norton Member of Parliament Temba Mliswa said the gesture by DzePamvura was momentous for the reinforcement of the mbira genre in particular and traditional music in general. He said he will lobby to have mbira declared a national sound played on national events.

“Mbira music is very important for both this country and its people. We need to recognise this importance and invest in development of these arts to preserve both our culture and our music. This gesture today by DzePamvura Mbira Centre is one that needs to be mirrored by central government if it is to bear fruit,” Mliswa said.

The instruments donated by DzePamvura at Dudley Hall Primary School in Norton on Thursday included 10 mbiras to 10 primary schools and an orphanage. The ceremony was flush with rich mbira music performed by the DzePamvura Mbira Ensemble as well as some cultured marimba music performed by scholars from Dudley Hall Primary School.

Mliswa said he was excited by DzePamvura’s vision and pledged to fund and support an annual Norton Mbira Festival organised by DzePamvura Mbira Centre.“I am a traditionalist by nature and to see such an effort by DzePamvura Mbira Centre is exciting. I think it only makes sense that a Mbira Festival be held in Norton and today I challenge DzePamvura to organise such a festival that I will fund myself,” he announced.

The Norton Mbira Festival has been slated for the last Saturday of January and will be held at Ngoni Stadium in Norton.

Meanwhile, the Arts ministry said government will continue to support the arts sector as a critical area in cultural tourism.“I applaud the DzePamvura Mbira Centre for this vision for the arts in Zimbabwe in general and Norton in particular. I envisage a scenario where I come back here and get to watch an mbira concert by the recipients of these mbiras today. I therefore challenge schools to encourage the learning of traditional instruments such as the mbira and to partner with institutions such as the DzePamvura Mbira Centre,” said ministry representative Spiwe Jiri in a speech read on behalf of ministry head Kirsty Coventry.

“On behalf of the Zimbabwean government and people as well as the schools present today, I thank DzePamvura Mbira Centre for their generous and invaluable support of the arts, our cultural heritage and history. As they work on their vision to spread the reach of mbira music, I hope their donation will inspire and encourage other arts and cultural patrons to come forward with their support for building up our national heritage,” she said.

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