mbira, book cafe harare
mbira, book cafe harare
© Pamberi Trust

From Penny Yon, Pamberi Trust

Today, the youngest mbira recording artist in Zimbabwe, the 13-year-old TENDAI MAVENGENI, launches her debut album DESTINY at The Book Café in Harare.

The six-track traditional jazz album is a result of passion and discipline, along with good guidance and mentoring of the teenage girl by several local musicians and the full and unwavering support of her parents.

Her music is influenced by a broad spectrum of traditional mbira and other music styles she has encountered in her young life, and lyrics include social concerns about the plight of children and how moral decay impacts negatively on children, especially girl children. The album comprises Tununurei, Spirit of My Destiny, Wakaronga, Pfuma, Africa, and a bonus instrumental track.


Born in December 2000 in Harare, Tendai is a form one student with a passion for music – particularly traditional music – which she grew up listening to. She started performing at pre-school; at primary school her passion led her to start playing Mbira (Nhare) at the very young age of 9, taught and mentored by respected mbira players Trymore Guchi Jombo and Brezhnev Guveya. She went on to she win a number of awards and medals at primary school level.

sistaz open mic
© Pamberi Trust

Today Tendai is one of the finest young female Nhare Mbira players in the country. Tendai draws her inspiration from famous Zimbabwean women mbira players Ambuya Stella Chiweshe and the late Chiwoniso Maraire, and singers like Claire Nyakujara, to mention a few.

Since 2012 Tendai has been a regular participant of Pamberi Trust’s Sistaz Open Mic platform, which has significantly helped her by offering workshops and stage performances which are of paramount importance in shaping her career.

Along with appearances at Book Café, Tendai has performed at the 2012 Protest Arts Festival, UZ World Theatre Day, Women Arts Festival, Zimpapers (Kwayedza) Poetry Awards, Zimbabwe International Book Fair, Mbira Schools Festival, and the Mbare Boys Scouts Festival.

Singer/songwriter Clare Nyakujara, who has been one of her mentors said, “Tendai is doing great. She still has a lot to learn and go through, in terms of music, so this album launch is the start not the end. We still have a long walk. But she has been so easy to work with. Her lyrical content, brain, capacity of thinking is greater than her age, you wouldn’t think it’s a 13-year old. I encourage her to keep looking forward, to grow, and believe in herself. We’ll help her to face any hiccups, but she should not be distracted, just look straight ahead to the goal.”

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