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Zim shines at Festival

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ELEVEN students from Watershed College in Marondera who represented Zimbabwe in this year’s edition of the International Marimba Festival held over the weekend in South Africa defied all odds and won in five categories.

Report by Jairos Saunyama

The two-day festival held at St Benedict was dedicated to African icon Nelson Mandela who is currently in hospital suffering from a lung infection. More than 1 000 marimba players from the host country and other southern African countries showcased their talent, but it was the Watershed Marimba Band that scooped five awards.

The band won the Best High School band, the best energetic band, the most spirited and passionate band, the best in the prestige band category and the overall best African band categories.

For their efforts, the students won five trophies, one Marimba instrument and a ticket to perform in Argentina next year. They will also perform at the Brazil Music Festival next year.

Watershed College left for South Africa last Thursday accompanied by popular drummer and Marimba player Blessing Chimanga.

In a telephone interview, Chimanga, who is popularly known as Bleds, said his team put up a spirited performance throughout the event.

“The festival went on well and we are proud to represent Zimbabwe at such a big event. I cannot believe that we scooped five awards in one event.

“The atmosphere was electric and judging from our participation on Saturday we have won the hearts of many. Now we will be taking Marimba to Argentina next year during our world tour,” he said.

Chimanga added that the event gave them a platform to interact with other marimba players from different countries.

“We held a workshop and we believe the group has acquired necessary knowledge and skills. It was a good experience for us as we interacted with other marimba music players, exchanging ideas and views,” he said.

International Marimba Festival was born last year in Gauteng Province as part of popularising Marimba music. The festival, which was organised by Education Marimba, also features workshops that are aimed at equipping marimba players with the muchneeded information pertaining to that music genre.

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