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‘Time to honour, local musicians’

ASSISTANT EDITOR

ZIMBABWE Music Museum Academy founding member and board chairperson Okay Machisa says it is time that we honour and recognise local musicians that have contributed immensely to the development of the country.

While there are so many such local music icons, Machisa said government should honour the late reggae singer Bob Marley for his contribution to Zimbabwe’s cause by naming a street after him. “

Why not even rename Rufaro Stadium to Bob Marley Stadium; the venue where he performed in 1980?”

Machisa said it would not be difficult to convince Norton council to name one of their streets after the late music superstar Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi.

“Tuku did a lot for the local music industry to the extent of building Pakare Paye Arts Centre; why not honour him with a street name?”

He added that while some of the great musicians like Tinei Chikupo, Safirio Madzikatire, Biggie Tembo, Leonard Dembo and Marshall Munhumumwe among others were gone, some are still alive.

“We have the likes of Thomas Mapfumo, Lovemore Majaivana, Leonard Zhakata and Stella Chiweshe whose contribution we need to celebrate and acknowledge.”

Machisa said the Zimbabwe Music Museum Academy was born out of a desire to acknowledge and preserve local musicians’ contribution to the country by recording their history.

“This project will assist citizens in a number of ways because music has grown so big in the country. We also want it to influence the music academia and at the same time improve the tourism side of our country.

“When tourists visit we want the museum to be a focal point where they can learn about our culture; view our artefacts and read about our great musicians and their achievements. Tourism development thus becomes very critical when they visit.”

He said the museum will create spaces/rooms for individual musicians and these will house artist related material, profiles, pictures and music products.

The museum, which has been registered and has started operations, will work in partnership with the business sector and government ministries.

“Already we are in the middle of several researches; we have commissioned journalists, artists, research experts and the academia. We are developing well researched material that can be used by scholars, universities and colleges of music. These researches can also be useful in music marketing. The research outcomes can also shape the nature of tourism when tourists visit our museums.”

Machisa said their programmes will relate with other museums in the world. “In this digital era we cannot operate in isolation, so we will try to interact with other museums and link with them digitally.”

He emphasised that music genres in Zimbabwe are many. “When we talk about music in Zimbabwe we talk of traditional music which is very raw, traditional contemporary music, the new genres like Zimdancehall and urban grooves. Then there is the music in its raw form of the 40s, 60s; we will look at how these influenced the movement of marimba and mbira music. We will look at why these were performed and at what levels.

“At the end of the day we hope to produce exciting packages that will make our museum a one-stop shop for culture and music.”

While the institution is currently housed at a private facility, Machisa has high hopes that in two to three years’ time it would have its own space. “We will engage the City of Harare to give us land where we can construct our facility which will house both the museum and music academia.”

Machisa added that he was inspired most by his exposure as a former director of Zimbabwe Human Rights as he used to travel around the world where he saw quite a number of museums. “These countries have done well in preserving the history of their music as it will assist coming generations.

“This museum is a baby that will require the support of everybody including the government, the United Nations through Unesco, civil society, Zimbabweans, the entire society of musicians and the media that has been giving us space to publicise musicians’ work.”

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