20 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Artistes Audition for Umoja

Aspiring musicians and dancers last week auditioned to represent Zimbabwe at the Umoja Cultural Festival to be held in September in South Africa.

The auditions saw artistes aged between 18 and 30 years trying their luck in music and dance.

National Umoja team co-ordinator Rumbidzai Chipendo, who is in charge of the Zimbabwean ensemble, said a group of artistes will represent the country in a musical cultural exchange festival in September.

"The Umoja Cultural Festival is a programme working for peace and development of society through international cultural collaboration.

"The carpet East Edition of Umoja includes Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Norway.

"All young Zimbabweans are welcome to take part in the auditions," she said. Zimbabwe has been a member of the Umoja cultural flying carpet since 2007 and has been participating in the annual international and regional camps.

In these camps, young artistes and trainers create cultural collaborations. Since Umoja is aimed at promoting cultural linkages, the Zimbabwean group will link up with others that fall under the Umoja Southern Carpet for cultural exchange.

This helps in that it promotes culture and individual development since the artistes will be exposed to a big international stage where some of the big artistes in the region are also featured as guests, she said.

In previous years, musicians Oliver Mtukudzi, Eric Wainana (Kenya), Ray Phiri (South Africa) and Carola from Tanzania were the guests at the Umoja festival.

Umoja is a Swahili word for working together. One successful artiste, whose musical roots are in Umoja, is Zimbabwe's rising mbira princess, Hope Masike.

She auditioned as a mbira player in 2007 and since then, she has been to all the camps in South Africa, Mozambique and Norway.

The Umoja Cultural Festival is a collaborative development programme and involves the participation of 11 cultural institutions from four different countries; Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Norway.

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