The Sunday Mail
THERE will be an attempt to break the Guinness World record for the largest mbira ensemble this month at a festival dubbed ZiMarimba, which will take place at Prince Edward High School.
The world record is currently held by Oxley State School from Brisbane, Australia, where 108 people played the marimba on November 3, 2016. But Zimbabwean schools want to break the two-year record by more than doubling the figure with at least 250 people expected to play a selected song, “Manhanga”, at ZiMarimba on May 25.
The schools taking part were selected from across the country and involve junior and senior schools. The vision belongs to Advanced Level student Mpiwa Gwindi, who is working closely with her mother, Ms Monica Gwindi, one of the event organisers.
“I have a passion for the African arts. I have a passion to legitimise African culture, among other world cultures. Also I want people to see the arts as an alternative career path,” she said.
A lot of activities, including a ruffle draw and a celebrity guest performance, have been lined up. The ZiMarimba festival has received endorsement from the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and Zimbabwe College of Music, among other organisations.
Success in breaking the World Guinness record will bolster Mpiwa’s profile ahead of her July World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA) performance in the United Sates, Hollywood.
Mpiwa, an ‘A’ grade student at school, will be part of the event alongside another performer, Tapiwa Gamura.
“It is not every day that you see young people that want to do African art and also it is not what is being fed to us through pop culture, thus we have to maximise on this,” noted Tapiwa.
Mpiwa’s mother believes this initiative will broaden kids and parents’ view on arts.
“This will inspire other kids and parents to view arts as an alternative source of livelihood.
“Mpiwa attained eight As at O-Level yet I still let her pursue the arts dream. She is currently handling this challenge but will soon be writing her A-Levels. Parents need to give their kids freedom to choose career paths of choice,” said Ms Gwindi.
Some of the schools participating at this year’s edition of the ZiMarimba festival include Peter House, Zengeza High, Still Waters Learning Academy, Eaglesvale Primary, Destiny Primary and Hippo of Nyanga.
Prince Edward High School are the current national marimba champions and holders of the title.