Posts Tagged ‘Binga’

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.

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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.

 

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Women on-air Mweezya Sinazongwe

Zubo Docu workshop Women Stories8

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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).

 

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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…

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Gogo – an ancient voice of the future

2019/03/28

 

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Thembi Ngwabi prefers to be called Gogo; ugogo meaning “granny, grandmother” in Ndebele. Even in 2012, when we recorded our first interview at Amakhosi Cultural Centre, the title of the elder and, an ancestral calling was already with Thembi. In 2013, I found her just relocated to the Lupane bush, in search of a realisation for her calling, and with a programme of cultural dance for local women and children at hand. We documented also this encounter with recordings.

The rain rituals have taken over my life…

In the present recording from October 2018 made at CoCont (Cont’s place) in Lupane, you may listen to the story of a demanding calling in Ugogo’s own words and voice. She describes her transformation from a young creative woman grown up in town (Bulawayo), a dancer, bass-guitarist, director of plays and films and of the Amakhosi Performing Arts Academy to a rapidly-aged, traditional rain-dancer in the Lupane bushland who follows spiritual instructions to build a new rain-making shrine which, as she has is linked straight to the Njelele shrine…

Almost everyone in Binga knows Maalila…

I ask Gogo in particular to tell us about her recent research in Binga. She had discovered that the geographically and historically closest rain-maker to her area in Lupane had lived in Binga. They went for a two-weeks research to Binga, and got to know the story of Maalila. He used to perform rain-making rituals at Binga’s hot springs until the Zimbabwe government and National Parks claimed the land as private property. Based on Gogo’s research, a thirteen-episode TV series about Maalila was developed and produced in Binga.

We need to go back to where we lost ourselves…

I also encourage Gogo to talk about her role as a woman in local culture and a woman leader of a new spiritual centre. I’m interested in Gogo’s contemporary open-mind now joint by an ancient voice; and curious about what I hear as a balance between a revival of culture and a celebration of diversity. Gogo ends the interview on a strong call and vision for her people… “we are fake… we don’t know what we are doing… we need to go back to where we lost ourselves…then, we can move on…”

Ugogo and her girl apprentice perform a traditional rain-making song.

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I felt shy photographing Ugogo… thus the pictures show mainly the dry Lupane bushland… and the trail of what was Cecil Rhodes’ dead-straight road through the bush….

Bulemu Mutale – South-North Volunteer

2019/03/24

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She was fortunate being encouraged to go to school… Bulemu Mutale tells us her story of a young woman growing up in the rural areas near the Zambezi, but also describes for us in detail how we can imagine the life of young women in Binga to look like…

I grew in a community where education for young women was not prioritised….”

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With the help of her grandmother, Bulemu completed school. Her mother had passed on; then her father lost his job and became ill. Bulemu started working in a local super market and picked up the role of the breadwinner for the family. The money job didn’t satisfy her. She started volunteering at an orphanage, Sunrise Children’s Home and discovered her passion: working with children. When she got involved in helping packaging products like soap and baskets of Zubo women, she also began volunteering for Zubo Trust regularly.

I am going there as “Zubo”… maybe i’m going to call myself “Zubo”…!”

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In 2018, Bulemu was chosen to participate in an exchange programme and go to Germany in January 2019. This interview was recorded in November, and in it, I encourage Bulemu to travel ahead with her imagination and share with us her expectations, her questions, her fear, and her projects…

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By now Bulemu is already working as a volunteer in a kita in Bielefeld. She is one of 16 young people from the global Souths to participate in a South – North exchange programme at Welthaus Bielefeld, which allows young volunteers from the global South to gain experiences in Germany in their chosen area of social engagement.

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ZUBO Trust is a women’s organization working with the rural women of the Zambezi valley in Zimbabwe since 2009. Zubo Trust has accomplished well-recognized work in organizing the rural women, establishing producer collectives, securing women’s lively-hoods, and boosting their independence and self-esteem. One of Zubo’s pioneering initiatives is an all-women fishery project. Further projects include organic agriculture, developing cosmetic products and, the local crafts, especially basket weaving.

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Bulemu and world Map Bielefeld

 

Penny Yon – a voice of inspiration

2019/03/22

…and, a hand or two of crucial support to many artists in Zimbabwe and beyond, that’s the musician and arts admin Penny Yon.

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In 2012, I managed to lure Penny away from her demanding work at Book Cafe/ Pamberi Trust, and record this interview with her. An amazing storyteller, Penny writes her-story as she speaks and a couple of other histories in the Zimbabwe Arts and BaTonga cultural exchange too…

At the time, just before my first visit to Binga as a guest of Basilwizi Trust, I was particularly interested hearing Penny’s experiences of life in Binga; as Penny lived there for a number of years with her family working for Keith Goddard’s Kunzwana Trust with and for the musicians in Binga, and later, for the Tonga.Online project jointly with Peter Kuthan and the Zimbabwe Austrian friendship Association.

Hear Penny’s account of the Tonga.Online project reaching for the first time across Lake Kariba from Binga to Sinazongwe….

Penny’s audio history-writing was very recently a poignant contribution to live shows on Zongwe FM, when we were re-visiting steps in storytelling the long journey of inter/cultural relations and exchange across Lake Kariba between the Tonga people and especially, with Zongwe FM, the beginnings of Tonga radio-bridging across the Zambezi (stay tuned as we’ll also soon archive the Zongwe FM shows of 2018…!)

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Penny Yon – a voice of inspiration in remix…

Before travelling to Binga in 2016 for the project with Zubo Trust “Women document women stories”, we run a remix call-out in support of the project and Binga women. It was clips from Penny’s 2012 interview recordings which scored the largest number of remixes in the call-out… hear just some… more here

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Women’s empowerment… in Binga remix

2019/03/04

… did you ever ask yourself about women’s empowerment in the rural areas of Zimbabwe…?

The Women’s organisation Zubo Trust in rural Binga, Zambezi Valley can tell a story or two about the issue.

In this recording from 2015Rosemary Cumanzala, the director of Zubo Trust can be heard in conversation with African women based in the Germany, Yvonne Chipo Makopa from Zimbabwe, Godsglory Jibril-Ellams from Nigeria and Claudia Wegener, Germany.  At the time they were running a podcast radio project with the Women’s Forum of Yes Africa e.V. in Hamm Germany.  

Listen to Rosemary Cumanzala live from Binga for the most recent updates on Zubo’s economic empowerment projects on International Women’s Day 8 March 1:30 pm GMT when she will talk with N.N.D. presenter of “the workplace” on Resonance fm London

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“…it’s taboo! I can’t allow my wife to be in the public…”

Zubo Trust began to work with the women of the community in conversational meetings with the husbands, sensitizing the men for women’s issues, that was the aim.

“…but why are the women not speaking…?”

once first steps were done and the women were attending the meetings, Zubo continued gentle inquiring in to the power structures that be…

“…Women Issues are women’s issues! There is no way a man can pretend to be a woman…!”

even the men were coming to this solution, Rosemary tells us in the recordings.

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Today many women in Zubo’s economic empowerment projects are able to stand on their own feet, fend for themselves and their families, Rosemary tells us

“…the women of the Kapenta project are even employers of men…”

“…in some families, women became the breadwinners; the husbands are taking care of the children…”

 

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The Women of Yes Afrika Women’s Forum, featured their meeting with Rosemary and her story of women empowerment in Binga in a podcast:

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“Zubo Trust brings women together for self-empowerment”

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ZUBO Trust is a women economic empowerment organisation partnering with the rural women of Binga in Zimbabwe since 2009.  Zubo Trust has accomplished well-recognized work in organizing the rural women, establishing producer collectives, securing women’s lively-hoods, and boosting women’s independence and self-esteem through capacity building trying. One of Zubo’s pioneering initiatives is an all-women fishery project on Kariba Lake. Further projects utilising natural resources include organic agriculture, the production of soap from Jatropha seeds and, the local crafts, especially basket weaving.

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Rosemary’s story of women’s empowerment in rural Zimbabwe beautifully remixed by artist Sirpa Jokinen in Finland.

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Her Story of Rocks

2017/11/04

now, i’m finally realizing that there are not many black geo-scientists, let alone women…!”

…like, this isn’t for girls…!”

…my love for geology stared here in Binga!”

The vocals of “her story of rocks” are based on a long interview with Chiza Mwinde in Binga Zimbabwe. Chiza was born in Binga, a place “at the back of beyond” as some have it. She is now studying geo-sciences in the US.

Hear Chiza’s story !

We worked together at the local women’s organisation Zubo Trust, Chiza as an Intern, me as multimedia volunteer. I was intrigued by her art of storytelling… about rocks, her research and, about her life… and I enticed her to share her story with us…

Listen to a playlist of clips from the interview with Chiza

 

The remix “Her story of Rocks” was created in response to the project and open call-out , “Breaking the Sound Barrier 8”

Excerpts from the interview were treated to various sets of chance cuts and effects, following the inspiration from the music, her story of rocks, the crushing of language and of tectonic plates in the history of the earth.

Indigenous Knowledge Dance

2017/06/02

This beautiful dance track by Crystal DJ Kwe Favel allows us to appreciate cultural wisdom founded deeply in indigenous knowledge.

“…because right now we don’t have the beads; so we are taking the patterns from the beads to the baskets…”!!

Ilala cutting Chinonge

The track was much used in our live radio shows with DJ Mo, DJ Petty Young and women from Sinazongwe on Zongwe FM last August.

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Actually, the BaTonga women both sides of the Zambezi, Zambia and Zimbabwe loved that track because, being a weaver themselves, or perhaps a daughter or friend of a basket weaver, they knew instantly what was at stake here: many of the patterns used in basket weaving can be traced back to traditional Tonga beadwork; but right now, beads are hard to come by in the rural areas…, so…!

Ilala Zubo cluch bag at Sinazongwe

Basket weaver Chinonge Womens Forum2

Translated into a universally valid cultural wisdom the teaching says: if one traditionally used base of cultural output subsides for one reason or another the indigenous knowledge and its varied expressions will move on to the next more available output material or channel. Here goes a natural law of spiritual survival.

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In the original interview recordings from 2012, which DJ Kwe remixed in her dance track, Viola Mwembe and Barbara Mudimba at Binga Craft Centre explain to me the meanings and origins and uses of patterns. And by the way, DJ Kwe means “DJ Native Woman”. The award winning DJ belongs to the indigenous people of British Columbia Canada. Crystal DJ Kwe Favel knows what she makes her music sing n dance about.

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In purchasing the Album “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga”, you’ll support the healing arts of DJ Kwe and the work of women for women across the globe. From the online sales, 50% of proceeds will go to project work with women in Binga via Zubo Trust and Basilwizi Trust.

The picture above  shows Donna and Matron from the Zubo team at Binga office with the poster for the Album. Below, Olga proudly carries an Ilala Laptop-Bag on the way to her office at the Ministry of Women Affairs in Binga. The Laptop-Bag is crafted similarly to the traditional BaTonga baskets from Ilala Palm leave by Zubo Trust’s women.

Ilala laptop bag

A recording by a woman from Binga represents the continent on-air

2017/04/03

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It was a recording by Lucia Munenge from Sikalenge Ward in Binga, which got to represent (sounds from) the African continent on a WDR3 “open sounds” programm recently: “The Sound of the World” on the field recordings platform radio aporee:::maps. You can find Lucia’s recording on aporee maps here

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Lucia’s recording was the only recording from the African continent played in the radio show, all other 33 listening samples from the aporee sound maps originated on the other continents. The radio show was dedicated to the aporee radio project by German artist Udo Noll, to its sound maps and audio recordings, which are contributed by listeners from around the world (at the time of this post, 37493 recordings of 32649 places by 1421 contributors with a total audio length of more than 90 days)

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Lucia Munenge is one of Zubo Trust’s six community based facilitators who were trained during the radio project “Women documenting women stories” last year. In her recording Lucia sings a song in ChiTonga composed by the Sikalenge Women’s Forum which tells the story of Zubo Trust and the “zubo” (traditional basket of Tonga women for fishing). She also comments in English on the meaning of the song.

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Here, in English translation, the relevant excerpt from the radio show’s transcript:

From the satellite perspective, the point pattern (of audio recordings) reveals where contributors are particularly active and, of course, those regions which are largely undiscovered acoustically. Most of the recordings, around 20,000, were recorded in the European countries. Quantitatively top performer, however, is Taiwan with around 6000 recordings alone! The northern and southern regions on the outskirts or outside the habitable zones, as well as the African continent, are acoustically scarcely explored. The project Radio Continental Drift by the London-based artist Christina Wegener (kkkkk…!) wants to remedy this situation and make the people of Africa audible. Radio Continental Drift does this by collecting interviews, stories and songs or by documenting workshops. “Women documenting women stories” is the name of a project with Zubo Trust in Zimbabwe, an organization that provides educational programs for women. In the following recording of July 26, 2016, Lucia Munenge sings and comments about ZuboTrust in a recording she has made herself.

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Lucia Munenge, Zubo is bringing women together …”

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Zubo Women Audio Collection 2016

2017/03/08

Zubo Staff and CBFs

For International Women’s Day 2017, joining women’s celebrations around the world, Zubo Trust and radio continental drift are proudly launching “Women documenting Women Stories”, an audio collection of more then 50 recordings produced by Zubo women, in particular the six community-based facilitators of Zubo’s Women Forums in Sikalenge (Lucia Munenge), Siachilaba (Julia Mumpande), Chinonge (Eunice Mwinde), Kariyangwe (Regina Munkuli), Manjolo (Margaret Munkuli) and Simatelele (Ottilia Tshuma).

Access the Archive

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The recordings are mainly in the indigenous language ChiTonga. We’ve made an effort adding introductions in English in the texts on the archive pages and sometimes the women even recorded summaries in English.

Follow our steps listening in situ on radio aporee sound maps

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With our recordings, we’d hope to reach out firstly to ChiTonga speaking communities, both sides of Lake Kariba or elsewhere, and especially to our sistaz, old and young. We’d wish that the present project and its audio collection may become, in time, just a beginning of local audio = listening research among the BaTonga women. There are so many stories, so much knowledge and wisdom among the women still waiting to be found, investigated and documented…

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We hope that listeners from further afield will also enjoy our recordings and, in listening, enjoy following us into our communities, culture and every-day lives. We’d wish that the publication of the collection will encourage organisations and communities, locally and internationally to engage in similar activities of collective research; and, that we may hear from you and your experiences… you are most welcome contacting us or joining the conversation on FB.

Thank you for listening!

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“Encouraging other women to speak out…!” Caven Mugande interviews Margaret Munkuli about her experience and how she felt making interview recordings in her own Manjolo community. Mugande is Zubo Trust Project Officer; Margaret is one of the six women facilitating local Women’s Forums who were taking part in the audio media training.

Tonga women on the way to their own media production

2017/02/07

From April – November 2016, Zubo Trust joint forces with radio continental drift/ Claudia Wegener to train Zubo staff and six community based facilitators (CBFs) in audio recording and production.

“Women documenting Women Stories” is the name of the task and the radio project with Zubo’s women.

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The playlist of recordings from the workshop days can document a bit of the journey, which we traveled together in exploring the use of audio recorders among the women Zubo is working with in rural Binga. The playlist showcases a selection of our recordings over three days together, and does so in footage recordings, including our trials to say what we mean, and our giggles.

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On the journey, which you can follow in the recordings, we practiced listening, to others, in interviews and, to ourselves; we explored storytelling and the power of detailed description on a listener; we learned how to talk with machines and how to listen carefully to their playback; we explored the tools of communication, how to encourage our counterparts to enjoy themselves in storytelling; we discussed where we come from and where we wish to go to, or not to go to… ; we practiced translation, listened to the strange sounds of foreign, African languages and, again and again, to the curious sound of ourselves as we speak to others.

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In July, the women went out in to their communities and captured the work of the Zubo’s women in the villages and the Women’s Forum in sound and voices. They also interviewed their elders, mothers and grandmothers, on BaTonga culture, tradition and history.

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The second playlist presents a selection of the recordings which Zubo women themselves made in their local communities and includes some excerpts of statements by the young media women about their experiences as citizen journalists and oral historians in their villages.

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DJ Kwe’s music flies like an acoustic beacon over our journey together with the women of Zubo Trust towards their own media work as young BaTonga business women…

I could stand for my people…” Track 5 of DJ Kwe’s “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga” features Linda Mudimba articulately voicing her wish to represent the Tonga people as a Media Woman (based on a recording by rcd in 2012 ).

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In purchasing the Album “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga”, you’ll support the healing arts of DJ Kwe and the work of women for women across the globe. From the online sales, 50% of proceed go to project work with women in Binga via Zubo Trust and Basilwizi Trust.

Twalumba loko.

Thank you for listening.


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