Zimbabwe Township Music launch

HARARE - The book "Zimbabwe Township Music" by Joyce Jenje Makwenda was launched recently at The Book Cafe amid a colourful crowd of sponsors, friends and artists who have featured in the book. The culmination of over 20 years of research and the fulfillment of a lifetime ambition, Zimbabwe Towns

hip Music was hailed as a valuable and very important documentation of the nations township music culture. Speaking as editor of the book, Dr Gibson Mandishona said he learnt a lot while editing the book and enjoyed it very much, having been around during the early phases of township music. He talked about how he had seen some of the musicians when he was growing up and also the vibrant culture that he was exposed to in Mbare, which saw the birth of many musicians then and today.

Joyce Jenje Makwenda thanked all those who supported her work of two decades, in particular Norad and the Ford Foundation for supporting writing and production, and Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe for sponsoring the launch and contributing to material for future exhibitions of the extensive collection of photographs that make up the book. Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe is leading the way for the support of arts in the country, matching substantial support in this sector in other parts of the world. Joyce also thanked Pamberi Trust and The Book Caf- for organizational support, and applauded their work for development of the arts.

To celebrate the occasion, the renowned township jazz group Mbare Trio headed by Friday Mbirimi delivered a lively performance of old township favourites, in which they were joined by singer Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana, Dr Gibson Mandishona on keyboards, Prof Fred Zindi on guitar, keyboardist Filbert Marova on bass, and young drummer Blessing Mparutsa. Another group who featured in the book and at the launch was Color Blu, headed by the dynamic Dudu Manhenga, who also delivered a sparkling performance reflecting township music from the southern African region. The launch evolved into a celebration of township music with Luck Street Blues, also sponsored partly by Stanbic Bank.

Invited guests included donors and sponsors, writers and artists of every description, who welcomed the book and applauded the enormous effort by Jenje Makwenda, and her announcement that another book (female musicians) is already in ‘the pipeline’.

Working tirelessly, Jenje-Makwenda is now working on a compilation CD ‘Women’s Voices’, for which she is seeking funding for an accompanying booklet and launch. She is also working on several novels – ‘Usenzeni’ (Ndebele), ‘Gupuro’ (Shona), and two childrens’ books, ‘Chocolates’ and ‘Mya & The Cheetah’ (English), the last co- written with her 5-year-old granddaughter Mya Madzudzo. These are all currently in production stage, and expected to be out by mid-year. We can also look forward by year-end to completion and launch of her next big book, ‘Women Musicians’.

The book ‘Zimbabwe Township Music’ is available at Prestige Bookshop (at The Book Cafe, Fife Ave/6th St) and other leading bookstores, or directly from [email protected]

Post published in: Arts

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