Thursday, 24 September 2015


Chibuku Stage, Intwasa Arts Festival, 5-7pm, FREE!
With ‘ROOTS’ (Byo)
National Art Gallery, Bulawayo, 2-4pm, cc$1

One of Harare’s rising young stars, Diana Samkange will be joining Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo on Friday 25 September at the Chibuku Stage from 5-7pm, a free show back-to-back with the band ROOTS, and one of several events supported by Harare arts development organisation Pamberi Trust. 
The young firebrand with the big voice has been consistently pleasing audiences in and around Harare over the last few years, building a beautiful brand which is well received by local music-lovers.  Now Diana will be reaching audiences in Bulawayo with an exciting performance, and meeting up with its artists in a vivid exchange of contemporary African music, back to back with the fresh Afrocentric sound of Bulawayo-based ‘Roots’ who were formed in 2013 and have already seen festival stages In Bulawayo and reached as far as the Jozi Book Fair 2015.

Also supported to the Intwasa Arts Festival this year are three strong young women poets, emerging from Pamberi Trust’s gender programme FLAME (Female Literary Arts & Music Enterprise) - Batsirai Chigama, Charity Hutete and Anthea Taderera, who have been firing up the Sistaz Open Mic platform for some time now, and won the respect of poetry audiences and fellow artists alike.

This exchange is supported by Africalia, Belgium, along with other cultural development activities in the Pamberi Trust programme.

A strong and growing relationship between Intwasa and Pamberi Trust has seen the participation of many young artists from Harare and Bulawayo exchanging platforms and opportunities over the last few years, coming together under the Trusts continuing cultural diversity programme and since 2014, the project ‘Relinking Communities through Culture’ which has linked several groups and platforms in Harare, Norton, Bulawayo to date.

Decentralisation of development activities from Harare to other centres is another goal of Pamberi Trust, and the organisation takes great pleasure in facilitating exchanges wherever possible.  It’s a two way street, and artists from both Harare and Bulawayo benefit.  Recent visitors from Bulawyao to Harare have included the afrojazz outfit ‘The Outfit’ and women’s accapella group ‘Nobuntu’ who have gone on to grace many stages in Europe in the last year. The Albert Nyathi-Chirikure Chirikure collaboration continues in both cities, and Pamberi Trust assisted in the Harare launch of the poetry collection ‘Textures by poets John Eppel and Togara Muzanenhamo, for Bulawayo publisher ama’books.


DIANA SAMKANGE comes from a family with a musical background, growing up in a home filled with older siblings who were songwriters, choir directors and composers.  Diana started her musical career with an Urban Grooves group called 2BG (Two Boys and a Girl) and was later groomed by Zimbabwean Afro-Jazz musician Tanga wekwa Sando who tutored her on vocal skills before she embarked on her solo career.  With three albums to her name and an upcoming fourth album named “Mationesa” Diana also performs at various venues and and local festivals.  In 2014 she was the supporting act for South African artist Zahara, and had an opportunity to perform at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Winter Jazz Festival, Unplugged Zimbabwe, Women’s Arts Festival, Protest Arts Festival.  Behind the scenes, Diana does local charity work for Danai Children’s Home in Harare, and has recently applied to be a Zimbabwe Red Cross Volunteer.
ROOTS is a Bulawayo-based band with a fresh Afrocentric fusion which involves a mixture of traditional and modern Mbira styles.  The band was founded in 2013 by Erastus Nleya and Luke Kamanga, and has performed at several venues around the city, including the Ibumba Festival in 2013 and 2014, the Jozi Book Fair 2015 (SA), and have had the honour of opening the stage for South African artist Ringo.  The band comprises Erastus Nleya , Luke Kamanga ,Samuel Mabhena, Sydney Mutsinze and Ashleigh Manyakaidze. Their debut album is set to be released by end of year.
BATSIRAI CHIGAMA is a name closely associated with spoken word.  Her work is featured in over 15 poetry anthologies, in USA, England, Italy, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.  Over the years she has performed at a number of festivals in the region – South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, and many local festivals and events, including collaborations with other musicians and poets such as Linda Gabriel.  She was appointed the Woman Scream’ coordinator for Zimbabwe 2014-2015, and worked with children at the Allied Arts Festival in July and Zimbabwe International Book Fair in August.  Batsirai is the gender officer for Pamberi Trust’s gender project FLAME (Female Literary, Arts & Music Enterprise), and coordinates the Sistaz Open Mic events where the programme features established and emerging women poets.
CHARITY HUTETE is a dynamic page and performance poet whose written work has been described as ‘a layered feast’. Her innovative use of words infused with the alluring harmonic refrains that often accompany her acts always result in tasteful, culturally rich and thought-provoking entertainment. Charity’s poetry is characterized by rich allegories which interrogate vast social realties earning her the nick-name ‘aCuriousPoet’.  She has exhibited her work at several international festivals in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Norway. Charity said “I would describe myself as a lover of life and words. My art speaks my truth expressed in witty words and alluring rhythms. Always worth a listen!”
ANTHEA TADERERA grew up in East Africa and Western Europe, and returned to Zimbabwe two years ago with a law degree from the University College London, with the intention of practicing law back home, following her passion for the rights of women and minorities.  A silent poet until January this year when she first participated in the Sistaz Open Mic, where she grew and flourished in the supportive environment, she is now excited to be travelling to perform in Bulawayo for the first time.  A feminist with a legal background, Anthea’s work is sometimes fired up by burning issues, and at other times simply things of interest where she has “words to say”.   Anthea describes herself as "A lover of flowery words, frank language and bright colours!  A willing participant in smashing the ‘cisheteropatriarchy’, always."  She looks forward to meeting and making friends with creative people in Bulawayo, becoming more deeply immersed in the Zimbabwean creative scene, and more aware of what’s happening in another part of the country.  To Bulawayo audiences she says “Please come vibe with me – I’d love to meet you!”

Another recent activity in Harare and Bulawayo has been a needs survey, conducted in August and September 2015 to identify the needs and priorities of young artists of Zimbabwe, for the formulation of future British Council Education, Arts and Society programmes, and as a stepping stone to the development of a sustainable creative economy in Zimbabwe.  The survey is conducted by GRM International with Pamberi Trust as Arts Consultants.

Following discussions with key arts practitioners in the sector and interviews with over 100 young artists of Bulawayo, an interim report has been prepared based on an analysis of the data collected.  Key stakeholders and members of the artistic community in Bulawayo are invited to a presentation of this interim report at Intwasa Arts Festival on Thursday 24 September, 10am-1pm, at the Bulawayo Club.

The report will be presented by GRM International) and Nqobani Tshabangu, followed by a discussion on the issues raised, and consideration of aspects that may impact on the findings of the report.  The meeting is free and open and all are welcome.

MONKEY SURVEY LINK: The voices of young artists (18-35) still need to be heard.  They are invited to follow the link below to an easy online survey which will add their voice to this important research.
By Penny Yon, Arts Administrator, Pamberi Trust 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Sistaz Open Mic Returns, Tina Watyoka To Shine

Saturday 12 September 2015, 2-7pm
Pamberi Trust Garden, 139 S.Machel Ave/ entry 6th Street, Harare
The popular platform for young women artists, the monthly SISTAZ OPEN MIC returns this Saturday 12 September to the Pamberi Trust Garden stage, back of 139 Samora Machel Ave, in the capital.
The monthly event - which sees upwards of 20 young women performing,  sometimes for the very first time – has over the years been graced and validated by the participation of established women in the arts – Dudu Manhenga, Hope Masike, Edith Katiji, Tariro neGitare, the late Chiwoniso Maraire in her time, and many others.  Literally hundreds of young (and not-so-young) women singers, poets, musicians, and dancers who have claimed ‘the space’ as their own.  

This Saturday, Tina Watyoka claims the 5.30-7pm 'Sistaz Afterparty' set, supported by exciting young artists in her backing band.
Sistaz Open Mic was started by Harare-based arts development NGO Pamberi Trust in 2006 as a space in which young women could come out in the safety of daytime to perform and perfect their work, interact with other artists, and use as a stepping-stone in their artistic careers.  It started under then project officer Linda Gabriel who later went on to study in Johannesburg, perform in South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, and is now based in Harare.  The reins were later taken over by Batsirai Chigama, gender project officer for Pamberi Trust who is also a gifted and successful poet in her own right, and has managed the monthly event ever since, under the FLAME project (Female Literary Arts & Music Enterprise).
This Saturday 12 September, Sistaz Open Mic will be in full swing in the Pamberi Trust garden at 139 S.Machel Ave (entrance 6th Street gate).  A big turnout of artists of diverse disciplines and styles is expected.  The event is free, and all people are welcome!

Tina Watyoka

TINA WATYOKA takes up the Sistaz Open Mic ‘afterparty’ in the 5.30-7pm set, which is a lively affair, turning the spotlight on individual women who have emerged from the open mic platform.  Tina Watyoka is a gifted young daughter of Zimbabwe - a graduate of Zimbabwe College of Music, now studying for an Honours degree in Music & Musicology at Midlands State University and currently interning with Music Crossroads, who burst onto the Harare stage a few years ago from the Sistaz Open Mic platform, and went on to perform many times at the Book CafĂ© and other venues, alongside some of Zimbabwe’s most popular artists, such as Victor Kunonga and Alexio Kawara, who she names as valuable mentors in her music career.    In 2014, Tina joined a vivid cultural collaboration with Edith WeUtonga and Rute Mbangwa as ‘Amawala’ (‘they shine’) which was presented in Harare in July, August and September , and at Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo in September 2014, and wowed audiences in both two cities.  In December 2014, Amawala were invited to perform at the ZimRights Human Rights Awards in Bulawayo. 
 Independently, Tina launched her debut album “Introducing Tina’ in 2010 and a second album ‘Ndoita Sei?” in February 2014.
Links: Tina Watyoka
Pamberi Trust core partners in development programmes are Africalia and Hivos. A grant from the ‘Culture Impacts’ programme of the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust has allowed Pamberi Trust to protect the garden stage as a creative space for arts performance - and the shows go on!

by Penny Yon
Arts Administrator
PAMBERI TRUST, Harare, Zimbabwe
Please note our new email address:

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Return of The Queen

…as Queen Mashie launches fresh album

By Robert Mukondiwa
 Enigmatic contemporary afropop sensation and goddess of traditional contemporary music, Tatenda Sandra Mashiringo, popularly known as Queen Mashie, returns to Harare from her France base to launch a groundbreaking album entitled Time this Thursday (23rd).

Aptly entitled Time, the eleven track album certainly spells out that this indeed is her time to be heard as it is laden with powerful tracks that are definitive, moving, hauntingly soulful as well as superbly didactic.
And in line with her stage name the album is a royal effort in the use of traditional instruments, particularly the Mbira.
In it, Queen Mashie hauntingly seems to snatch the mbira from the apparition of the late goddess of the instrument, Chiwoniso Maraire, taking over from where the late mbira queen left off as she proudly assumes the throne of Zimbabwe’s musical ancestry.

Speaking about her fresh album, Queen Mashie says it is a culmination of the tenets that describe her; hard work, energy, and tireless dedication.
“I sought to put together an album that would help me sell the Zimbabwean sound not only back home here in Zimbabwe but also all over the world and push a proud legacy of Zimbabwean music being able to crack the airwaves anywhere in the world,” she says.

And she has already begun doing that raising the Zimbabwean flag proudly amidst the French Tricolor in her new home in Europe.
Laden with tracks that explore traditional and intimate subjects like belonging, rape and abuse of women and girls and issues like jealousy amongst families, Queen Mashie has produced a gem of an album which no doubt will be amongst the premium picks of the urban adult contemporary releases of the ear.
“I am certain the album will resonate with the listeners as I have tried to incorporate feeling and discipline in the sound and the lyrics,” said Queen Mashie. Resume in the music industry after starting singing professionally in 2000
Queen Mashie has a hot resume in the music industry having worked with her late sibling And Brown after she started singing professionally in the year 2000.  Queen Mashie also performed at the SautiZaBuzara Festival 2008 with Afrodynamics, a composite of various musicians from different parts of the world (France, Mozambique, Senegal, Austria and Zimbabwe) She has also performed at Hifa 2014, Blankets and Wine in June 2012, Choices, Thursday Night Live, Chitenge and Wine Lusaka Zambia and Afro Sonido Manchester UK.

Mbijana Mbijana (pole pole, slow slow) comprises her original afro fusion composition in Shona, English and Swahili with a distinctly Mbira sweet melodies that defines her music, linguistic and cultural journey.