Tawanda Matanhire Arts Reporter
Preparations are underway for the commemorations of a Mbira music maestro Taku Mafika,who died four years ago. Taku Mafika was an enticing and innovative Nyunga nyunga Mbira player who drew his inspiration from his deeply rich cultural upbringing, fusing his contemporary sound with Zimbabwe’s traditional vibes such as Mhande, Jit, Dinhe, Mbende and Katekure to create a unique texture of ethno-contemporary jazz music.
At the time of his death he taught the mbira to individuals, local schools and colleges and has held numerous workshops and performances in Zimbabwe, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Poland and Namibia. His young brother Carlos also a musician known as Mob G said they are working on the logistics for the event to be held on October 31.
“We (Taku Mafika’s brothers) are organising the event in our neighbourhood in Southerton at club Red 32 and this will be a yearly event,” said Carlos. He also said the event will feature a special line of artistes and DJs and they will also be repackaging his album “Dzimwe Nguva” which will be available for sale.
With his band he founded, called Tru Bantu, he recorded the album “Dzimwe Nguva”, that has sold both locally and internationally. Mafika worked with many well known Zimbabwean artistes like Willom Tight, Chiwoniso, Alexio, Mafriq, Sebede, Sam and Selmor Mtukudzi, among others.
Through his music and activities Mafika often addressed social issues in Zimbabwe as well as subjects of democracy and freedom. Apart from being a musician he was also a captivating music teacher in his own right who advocated for peace and sustainable development for Zimbabwe.
Mafika played the nyunga-nyunga which became popular, due to the influence of Dumisani Maraire, who first introduced the instrument (and Zimbabwean music in general) to students and audiences. The commemorations come barely a month after the Mbira month which is meant to give mbira a national and international platform from which it can be used as a tool for celebrating and sharing the mbira and other aspects of culture with the rest of the world. Mbira is not just the music and the instrument. It is a social institution on its own. It is a vehicle for communicating many aspects of Zimbabwe, the culture and beyond.