Just a short word…

Apparently the price of mbira lessons in Zimbabwe can be worked out by how much a plate of Sadza costs according to someone. Mmmmhhh….

It is human nature to try to get a “good deal” when buying or paying for something. However when does a good deal become “too good to be true”?

mbira lessons


The idea of pegging mbira lessons in Zimbabwe against how much a plate of Sadza costs is probably one of the most outrageous ideas I’ve come across online. Rather than be angry at the sentiment, I’ve thought of it as revealing of something that needs to be nipped in the bud.

Just like the clothing industry, the trade in cultural and musical knowledge  such as mbira has every potential to exploit the vulnerability of desperate people under the guise of helping them. As the argument usually goes, “they are better off anyway albeit little. They wouldn’t have got a dime had they not agreed to the lesser fee…”.

Dear friends, what is the true value of a mbira lesson to you? What is a fair price to pay and against measures can the ‘right price’ be determined?


3 Replies to “Of plates of Sadza and Mbira Lesson Prices”

  1. Should mbira lessons be monetized? I know in the Western world everything is monetized and that many Westerners will learn something about mbira and monetize their new found knowledge, however the monetization of mbira lessons may not be the answer. There are many pitfalls to the whole idea of monetizing the process of passing on knowledge that was not ours to sell in the first place.

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