The founder and director of the Barbara Nyika Mbira Academy, Barbara Nyika, died last week after a short illness. She was 43. A reputable businesswoman in her own right, Ms Nyika specialised in the manufacturing of Mbira instruments and imparting of Mbira skills through her academy. Driven by the zeal to contribute to the preservation of Zimbabwe's cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, through production of original and authentic Mbira instruments and imparting Mbira playing skills to the young generation, she was an active participant in cultural activities.
Some of the activities included inter alia, traditional ceremonies, mbira music festivals, and Culture Week celebrations.
As a result of her efforts, she was awarded the second prize for the Empretec Women in Business Award 2012, in Qatar.
In a statement, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe expressed their sadness over the loss of Nyika.
"Once again, death has robbed the arts and culture sector of an icon, an arts manager of repute and a promoter of Mbira music par excellence.
"At the time of her death, Ms Nyika had her attention focused on acquiring modern machinery for bulk Mbira manufacturing as well as influencing the study of Mbira music in public schools," read the statement.
NAC added that Barbara was a cultural icon who assisted in many programmes aimed at enhancing the arts sector.