BY PRECIOUS CHIDA

UNITED KINGDOM-BASED actor and singer John Pfumojena has embarked on a cultural project dubbed Meet My Ancestors, which will mainly focus on promoting Zimbabwean mbira and marimba music, NewsDay Life & Style has learnt.

The project, which will be supported by Arts Council Lottery Fund in England, saw six up-and-coming mbira artistes — Kudzanai Chikowe, Biliard Kambone, Raymond Mupfumira, Othnell Mangoma, Tawanda Mapanda and Takudzwa “Pro Beatz” Mashonganyika — travelling to the UK at the weekend as part of the programme.

Speaking to this paper yesterday, Pfumojena said the project was meant to avail mbira music education in the United Kingdom.

“It’s important that Zimbabwean artistes be well educated in our own traditions and culture because it makes us more powerful in a very competitive world arts industry. We stand out when we use and fuse our traditional artistry with the more contemporary aesthetics,” he said.

Pfumojena said the Meet My Ancestors project was meant to create a theatre show called Sandpaper in the United Kingdom, which will involve professional Zimbabwean mbira and marimba musicians and dancers from Jibilika Dance Company.

The show will be held at Battersea Arts Centre, London for a week.

Pfumojena said the residency would also create a theatre show that focused on refugees and Africans living in the diaspora through dance and music.

“The team is also going to create a show on immigrants and African diaspora reclaiming their heritage and traditions which have been massively affected by assimilation and colonisation with the use of Zimbabwean mbira, marimba and dance for the benefit of the people in the United Kingdom who have or may not have been exposed to it,” he said.