Senior Reporter, The Herald (Zimbabwe)
Government will assist the Mbira Centre in Harare in its effort to establish a nationally-oriented mbira orchestra.
Speaking after touring the Mbira Centre yesterday, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo said the orchestra would help market Zimbabwe and its cultural heritage.
“Initially the orchestra will start here but we want it to develop a Mbira Institute. We want the institute to encourage the use of the instrument in our schools,” he said.
Prof Moyo said he had visited the Mbira Centre to appreciate the work done there.
The Mbira Centre, under the directorship of Mr Albert Chimedza, is making a special mbira instrument for presentation to President Mugabe on his 90th birthday.
The special mbira is made with non-rusting material and is inscribed with the President’s totem, Gushungo.
Prof Moyo said Government would support the centre’s push to produce state-of-the art mbira to be presented to visiting Heads of State and Government as souvenirs.
Mbira Centre’s Mr Chimedza said he had not yet valued the mbira he is making for President Mugabe, but suggested it could cost between US$1 000 and US$1 200. The usual high quality mbira sells for US$500.
“This is the first of its kind. We have never made such a special mbira. I do not see why a visiting head of State cannot be presented with such a mbira as a way of promoting the country’s heritage.
“We will present the President with other mbiras which he will donate to schools of his choice,” he said.
Mr Chimedza employs 15 people, some of them physically challenged, and produces at least 100 mbiras a week.
He said he collects mbira from various parts of the country and his wish was to introduce mbira in schools.