Music by Prudence tells the story of Prudence Mabhena, the lead singer of Bulawayo band Liyana.
Zimbabwean singer songwriter, Prudence Mabhena, aged twenty-one, was born severely disabled into a society where disabilities carry the taint of witchcraft; she is more likely to spend her life hidden away in a tiny hut than on a stage in the centre of a city.
Her story is the story of many of the disabled kids of Africa, a story of abandonment and abuse. But Prudence and her seven young band members, all disabled, have managed to overcome stereotypes and inspire the same people that once saw them as a curse.
These are all the incredible Liyana band members:
Prudence Mabhena is Liyanas lead singer. She also composes a wide range of styles and many topics. While challenges with Arthrogryphosis have placed her in a wheel chair, she is an independent, assertive woman, whose voice has been likened to the great South African liberation singer, Miriam Makeba.
Tapiwa Nyengera sings back-up, plays keyboard, and is the front man. He is a passionate and eloquent voice for the contribution the disabled can make to Africa and the world. He has spina bifida.
Energy Maburutse is first marimba player and back-up vocalist and the bands resident jokester. He has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, brittle bone syndrome.
Honest Mupatse plays tenor marimba. He has hemophilia.
Marvelous Mbulo is a back-up singer and has muscular dystrophy.
Vusani Vuma, the bass marimba player, is hearing-impaired and has spent much of his life in silence.
Goodwell Nzou, plays traditional drums and percussion and sings back-up. A snake bit him when he was 11, requiring amputation of his leg.
Farai Mabhande, lead keyboardist, is an orphan from Bulawayo, who suffers from arthogryphisis.
Liyana (the name means its raining in Ndebele) grew out of an arts project at King George VI, a school and centre for children with physical disabilities, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
One of the amazing success stories the school has achieved is its band, Liyana. This year the group of eight students, five in wheelchairs, two on crutches and one deaf, took second prize in an all Africa music competition. They were the only group in the competition who were disabled. In 2006 Liyana toured Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands. – Sokwanele
The Earth Forgives
The Earth forgives the Miner’s blast
That rends her crust and burns her skin;
The centuries bring Trees again,
And water, and the Fish therein.
The Deer at length forgives the Wolf
That tears his throat and drinks his blood;
His bones return to soil, and feed
The trees that flower and fruit and seed.
And underneath those shady trees
The Wolf will spend her restful days;
And then the Wolf in turn will pass,
And turn to grass the Deer will graze.
All Creatures know that some must die
That all the rest may take and eat;
Sooner or later, all transform
Their blood to wine, their flesh to meat.
But Man alone seeks Vengefulness,
And writes his abstract Laws on stone;
For this false Justice he has made,
He tortures limb and crushes bone.
Is this the image of a god?
My tooth for yours, your eye for mine?
Oh, if Revenge did move the stars
Instead of Love, they would not shine.
We dangle by a flimsy thread,
Our little lives are grains of sand:
The Cosmos is a tiny sphere
Held in the hollow of God’s hand.
Give up your anger and your spite,
And imitate the Deer, the Tree;
In sweet Forgiveness find your joy,
For it alone can set you free.
From The God’s Gardeners Oral Hymnbook
~ Margaret Atwood (The Year of the Flood)Post published in: Theatre