Moyo Wa Africa
with mbira player Ambuya Chiweshe
Monday August 22nd , 2011 @ 6-9pm
(just south-west of park entrance at High Park Ave. and Bloor)
Rain Location: 1920 Bloor West
$10-$25 sliding scale (no one turned away for lack of funds).
Light lunch served
– Registration in advance is required –
This workshop is geared towards people of African descent and will involve an in-depth discussion of spirituality and related matters from a Shona cultural perspective.
“The materiality [or materialism] of not only Zimbabweans has become a force that breaks our people away from the spirituality the has been the cornerstone of our societies. The last hundred years has seen such a rise in materiality [or materialism] that it has caused the individual to be more egoistical and ambitious for personal gain, casting aside the spirituality that has been handed down by parents to children.
[This workshop is intended to begin or further a process of renuniting us with the spiritual knowledge and practice that we have been severed from. Workshop participants are invited] to bring all the questions relating to the spiritual world and to our inner selves as African peoples.
There will also be discussion of our different manners and gestures. Nobody chose to be born in the culture they are . It is good to explain to each other so that we can live together in harmony. We will also learn a song together to sing for mother earth.”
Stella Rambisai Chiweshe is Zimbabwe’s Queen of Mbira and is the great grand daughter of Munaka, the resistance fighter who was hanged by the British during their occupation of Zimbabwe. Mbira is so much a part of Stella’s life that she is almost synonomous with it! Right from the first time she heard the captivating sound of mbira, the traditional ‘thumb piano’, Stella was determined to learn how to play it so she’d be able to hear it all the time, even though it was almost unheard of for women to play mbira.
In the Shona culture of Zimbabwe there are special ceremonies during which mbira sounds connect with spirits of those who have died. The unwritten lyrics of the songs in Shona can come through dreams and visions and contain deep spiritual and cultural meanings. To begin with, before independence in Zimbabwe, Stella attended these ‘underground’ ceremonies at night and then during the day worked as a maid. After independence she soon assumed a leading role as mbira player and dancer in Zimbabwe and has gone on to have a very successful career internationally.
Moyo wa Africa is a community of Africans on the continent and in the diaspora who are committed to the reclamation of Indigenous African spiritualities, knowledge systems, economic models and resources. Through this work we support our people in a process of resisting and healing from the damage caused by colonialism, and we move towards our vision of rebuilding healthy, independent and sustainable African societies. For more info, please go to Moyowaafrica.com