MBIRA MONTH 2015
THEME: MBIRA & EDUCATION
Schools shape the thinking of the future custodians of our culture
Mbira Month is a month-long event celebrating mbira in all its facets worldwide every September. The theme for Mbira Month 2015 is “Mbira & Education” Its focus is school children and anything and everything relating to how they can attain a decent mbira education in present day Zimbabwe. This is Mbira Month’s fourth edition.
“The mbira is a national treasure and should be celebrated as such. This year our theme is ‘mbira and education’. 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 marginalized in the creation of wealth and new knowledge in our own country,” says Mbira Month’s founder, Albert Chimedza of The Mbira Centre.
Chimedza feels that 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 of how institutionalized 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, nonAfricans, 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, Mbira related national radio broadcasts, performances and traditional children’ games and will be will be regularly posted on relevant Facebook pages and on other social media.
Mbira Month is a Mbira Centre Project managed by Mbira Month. The project partners are ZIFM stereo, CHIPAWO, Let Them Trust, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, ZiFM stereo and Zimbo Jam.
The Event is managed by LET THEM Trust
The Inter-schools programming is coordinated by CHIPAWO.