CHITUNGWIZA-BASED prolific mbira player Munyaradzi Fombe believes mbira music should be widely taught in Zimbabwe to help cement the country’s cultural identity.

Fombe is also a renowned stone carver who learnt his art from his father Adriano Fombe who taught him to punch the stone with great expertise from the age of 10. 

With further tutelage and inspiration from Sam Musakwa, Kennedy Musekiwa and the Mazhindu family, Fombe has produced globally sought-after carvings like the Achangoti Pfuurei Pachimuti (Just after passing the tree), Mushroom picker, Pregnancy, Headman, Headmaster, Granny picking a pot and several others which highly reflects on his Shora roots and upbringing.

Fombe is self-motivated and works with a personal drive.

“My art is what I see on a stone and I wouldn’t want to demolish our natural gift, so what I see is what I produce,” he said.

NewsDay Life & Style caught up with Fombe at the Chitungwiza Arts Centre where he said mbira music is now universally popular and is traced to its Zimbabwean origins.

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“Teaching of mbira music in a traditional oriented set-up shall help in providing true narratives of our culture while shaping African mindsets for global appeal,” said Fomber.

“Mbira music has helped me to accept my tradition whilst developing classical artistry oriented from my own understanding of where I come from.”

During lunch breaks at the Chitungwiza Arts Centre, visual artists usually gather to share skills and techniques on plucking the mbira instrument and Fombe, being one of the eldest mbira players, takes the lead with such traditional songs as Mahororo, Chamutengure and Nhemamusasa, among others.

“Cultural teaching unites people and helps to groom talent at relaxed paces without killing one’s ingenious. This also helps society to develop ways to groom and nurture children,” he said.

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