Mbira Month focuses on education

HARARE - Mbira Month is a month-long event celebrating mbira in all its facets worldwide held every September.

The theme for Mbira Month 2015 is “Mbira and Education”. Its focus is on schoolchildren and everything relating to how they can attain a decent mbira education in present day Zimbabwe.

This is Mbira Month’s fourth edition.

Mbira Month founder Albert Chimedza of The Mbira Centre said the mbira is a national treasure and should be celebrated as such.

“It is unimaginable that a country can fail to integrate one of its major cultural pillars into the schools system.

“Without such integration our culture will be marginalised in the creation of wealth and new knowledge in our own country.”

Chimedza feels we cannot continue to try and develop our own country off other people’s ideas without investigating and investing in our own ideas.

“Ideas from our own cultures are equally capable of giving our citizens wealth, knowledge and employment as are the cultures on whose ideas and intellectual capital we seem to rely on for our attempts to develop ourselves. It is for this reason that Mbira Month 2015’s activities are focused on education,” Chimedza explained.

The debate on how institutionalised formal education should embrace traditional intellectual capital is paramount to the establishment of an Afrocentric education that reflects the values and intellectual genealogy of African people.

Africa cannot just take from others.  Africa must invest to ensure that its best and brightest are empowered with the ability to articulate Africa to the world on their own terms rather than being articulated by others.

Currently, non-Africans, on the whole, invest much more in African intellectual capital than African individuals, governments, businesses and institutions do. Arresting this process needs an integrated investment effort by Africans.

This focus on education has a context. The Mbira Centre’s Mbira in Schools project invited the schools and colleges it had donated mbiras to, to come and perform and be the focus of our inaugural Zimbabwe Mbira Festival which will be held in the ZiFM Gardens on September 19th.

“In December, the project will host an all-schools Mbira Festival in Harare. Mbira Month aims to engage the general public in as many of its activities as is technically possible.

“For this reason social media and radio will be major platforms for presenting our activities to the public.  Events will include a children’s mbira inspired art exhibition and mbira related radio broadcasts, Chimedza highlighted.

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