Archive for April, 2019

Breaking Barriers – DJ Kwe unites indigenous women in music

2019/04/24

Crystal DJ Kwe Favel “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga” album was released in early April 2016. Kwe’s dance tracks of electronic drum music are dedicated to the Tonga people in Binga Zimbabwe.

Kwe herself belongs to the Cree and Metis, indigenous people of BC Canada. DJ Kwe – that is, “DJ native woman” [pronounce: kway] – listened to many of the 2012 recordings from Binga by radio continental drift; she heard her relations and ancestors speak in the Voices of Binga:

This is the story of my people…” she wrote to me, “i want to make an album of my music dedicated to the Tonga women…”. And she did…

Award ceremony at Damba Primary School 2012

Radio Remixes Voices of Binga” went public the very day I took off to Binga to join Zubo Trust women on the journey to their own media production. “Women document women stories” is an oral history collection recorded by Zubo women in their villages, communities and Women Forums.

When I traveled around Lake Kariba to join women producers at Zongwe FM in Zambia, oral history became “radio active” and Binga women recordings built a radio-bridge between Tonga communities both sides of the Zambezi.

.

DJ Kwe’s dance tracks were part and parcel of these three-in-one journeys. Her music joint women across frontiers in listening to each others stories, uniting indigenous knowledge from Canada and Zimbabwe in contemporary dance tracks, and marrying oral-history-in-remix to contemporary electronic media and music.

 

zubo-docu-workshop-women-stories5

Women on-air Mweezya Sinazongwe

Zubo Docu workshop Women Stories8

.

Prior to the release of “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga”, and starting from Kwe’s first contact to me, another amazing, but much more hidden journey unfolded… The album was produced in a year long email and listening correspondence between DJ Kwe’s studio on the West coast of Canada and my attic room somewhere on the Eastern edge of the Ruhr-Valley in Germany.

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 15.12.59

 

20161028_081040

The journey here unfolds entirely between two pairs of ears and imaginations. Crystal would choose the tracks which spoke to her most clearly and which she wanted to remix; send me her tracks packaged in her thoughts and descriptions of musical elements; I would listen, and listen again, and write comments, recommend different or related recordings, highlight certain excerpts, and package it all with my storytelling of local experiences in Binga and bits of ChiTonga knowledge.

Crystal DJKwe Favel turn-table and Zubo women Ilala bag copy

In finalising the Album, DJ Kwe wrote letters of appreciation and gratitude to all the vocals featured in “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga”. Displayed here in image are the letters for tracks 2 and 9 both addressed to Abbigal Muleya, at the time monitoring- and evaluations officer with Zubo Trust.

 

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 15.13.44

 

Abbi tells the story of the traditional team work of Tonga women, how it can even break barriers for women, and how it came to stand at the very centre of Zubo women’s work.

20160429_125654

.

Download the Letters of Appreciation From DJ Kwe

During my stay in Binga in 2016, I made an effort that the letters, appreciation, and music of DJ Kwe reached firstly those who were featured in the music. This included a visit to Siachilaba Primary School meeting Mr Kelias (former Head of School; track 4, The Baobab Tree) and Jossam Munkuli, keeper of the horns of Tonga Simonga musicians (track 14 Revitalise our culture).

 

20161116_152614

.

Together with Luyando Muyalali (tracks 10 and 14), we walked the 8 km from Manjolo to her native Damba. The Tonga Anthem included in the album’s first track was sung by children of Damba Primary School and recorded during an award ceremony under the tree…

20161026_124831

IMG_20161026_123427

 

Advertisements

Nosiko Mundia – documenting to share knowledge

2019/04/15

20180720_175720

.

Nosiko is a young woman born and raised in Sinazongwe Zambia. I am interested to hear her story how she got to join the community radio Zongwe FM. Nosiko has completed secondary school and had open ears for a different pass-time. She listened to the local radio in her homestead thinking ‘i can do just as well’. When ZongweFM team was looking for a secretary, she joined. Nosiko tells us that she long since had a dream of becoming a journalist; but now, checking on reality, she’ll soon start training as a nurse. In the Zongwe team, Nosiko also breaks into a rather male-dominated field: football commentary. She describes for us the process, how it’s done at Zongwe FM; even gives us a sound bite.

We recorded the interview in the IT class room next to the Zongwe FM studio after one of my first training sessions with Zongwe team in June 2018. The radio transmitter is housed in this room; that’s the white noise in the background.

20180628_155831

20180830_160604

can you manage behind the mic…? Yes I can!”

Nosiko was one of only very few young women who came to join our Zongwe training and broadcasts; and she was the only one to stay long enough for us to achieve some work together; such as the “Basimbi Radio” workshops and broadcasts with school girls; and an exchange visit to Zubo Trust in Binga across Kariba Lake which Nosiko got to join and document.

20180719_173836

come to Zongwe FM, join me as your sister!” (birth of “basimbi radio”)

Others came once or twice and vanished. It needed a lot of time, patience and flexibility to find the young ladies and collect them from wherever they were if need be. Reasons for the difficulty are varied, but I could convince myself that it all boils down to women’s endless duties at home and in their families. I found myself negotiating free time for the girls from mothers and fathers…  Memory and feeling told me that my experiences in neighboring Zimbabwe have been better by degrees. I went to and through various statistical records; numbers seem to confirm my impressions. See for example: WEF gender-gap index 2015 (the last year that Zambia is listed) or UNwomen sdg-report

.

20180830_155236

20180802_162434

.

The second interview with Nosiko Mundia was recorded shortly after her return from Binga where she accompanied Maria Ntandiyana and Cleopatra Nchite, two representatives of Sinazongwe women clubs on a visit to the women’s organisation Zubo Trust. Nosiko is still excited. As for the other two women, it was her very first international journey into unknown territory. She tells us about the different kinds of economic empowerment projects which they got to know among Zubo women, the kapenta fishing, the craft weavers, the soap production from Jatropha.

20180821_132944

my role was to record…”

Nosiko reflects on her role as the record-keeper, the one who documents the event in service for the others to assist memory and for those back home so even they may learn by listening to the recordings. We ask her about any differences in the lives of women she may have noticed:

“women in Sinazongwe don’t cooperate… and they don’t sell what they produce…”

20180831_170750

Based on Nosiko’s audio documentation, we made a number of broadcasts for the community where she, and also Maria and Cleopatra reported what they had witnessed and learned. Clips from the broadcasts are already archived.

Sinazongwe Community Radio Women's Exchange Visit

IMG-20180824-WA0003

Mrs Chilowana Senior Teacher – it is not so easy for the girls…

2019/04/05

20180629_123300

Sinazongwe Primary School was established in 1958 – i.e. at the time of the forced resettlement of the Tonga people. Over the 50 years since it was established, the school didn’t have one female head teacher… as Mrs Chilowana tells us.

20180824_171605

.

Mrs Chilowana has been in the teaching services for 25 year; the past 10 years as a Senior Teacher at Sinazongwe Primary/ Secondary School. In the interview, we ask Mrs Chilowana to give us a little insight in to the life of a woman in employment and public service in the rural areas of Sinazongwe district. In the first track, Mrs Chilowana tells a bit of her own story…

It’s not so easy…”

In the main part of the interview, we ask Mrs Chilowana to describe for us the social expectations on girl children in the community and how these community customs translate in to challenges in young women’s lives and education…

Girls are expected to do much of the home chose…”

There are various programmes in place to sensitize the community, lighten the plight of the girls and take steps of changing community habits. In the last part of the interview, Mrs Chilowana describes some of the “moderate changes” and tells us i.a. about the activities of the Guidance Office, a re-entry policy to school for young mothers and the involvement of the various stakeholders in the area.

.

20180809_180707

One of our responses to the situation Mrs Chilowana describes in her interview was “Basimbi Radio” – radio with and for girls, a special venture throughout the school holidays in August with weekly workshops and live shows. Music: DJ Kwe

.

The Radio-Bridge Compilation has some powerful tracks, tools for us, that we often played in our Basimbi Radio shows like this remix by Feralmind (London woman DJ) based on a recording by Zubo Trust’s Margaret Munkuli of Labecca singing a warning song for girls…

20180830_171538

 


%d bloggers like this: