Posts Tagged ‘Zimbabwe’

“Stories of Gardens…” on Datscha Radio

2017/09/13

dance_of_baobab_n_carrots3_2017rcd

Stories of gardens are better than none at all…”

first broadcast on Datscha Radio Berlin, a 5-days radio-festival from a Berlin allotment garden, August 2017; produced in response to Datscha radio’s open call by radio continental drift

radio continental drift is proud and happy contributing to Datscha Radio in Berlin together with women audio/ radio producers from both sides of the Zambezi and beyond, namely Zubo Trust in Binga, Zimbabwe and Zongwe FM in Sinazongwe, Zambia; DJ Kwe joins the all-female radio-gardeners team from Canada with her music, excerpts from the inspiring Album “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga”.

Margaret Munkuli and Lucia Munenge recorded songs and stories of elders in their communities about their life at the Zambezi before the forced resettlement displacing the Tonga people for the construction of Kariba Lake. The old ladies still danced and played Chilimba at the Zambezi, as they themselves tell, and they could shout across the river to their relatives on the other side; water for gardening was no problem…

DJ Mo and DJ Petty Young took many of these recordings on-air at Zongwe FM relating voices and stories from the Binga community to the Tonga community on the Northern shore of Kariba Lake thus, joining the now divided people in radio community. Radio continental drift joins the dots in the radio piece with bits of narration in English and German to invite further listening communities along on the journey. DJ Kwe’s beats lifts our voices to danceable teachings.

You can even follow our journey to Tonga gardens on the sound maps of aporee radio where you’ll find all the original recordings. 

Enjoy the listening. And have a nice day in the garden!

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Buy the Album “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga”

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 look! Thank you for your support!

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Dance of carrots and baobab with stories of gardens and Tonga-song-remix by DJ Kwe performed to link and honour the women of Zubo Trust in Binga, Datscha Radio in Berlin, “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga” by DJ Kwe in Canada and Apocalypso Now, a performance party hosted by Alma Tischler Wood and John Wood at Lewisham Art House in London on 25 August 2017.”

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A luggage of equipment for women in Binga

2016/03/01

luggage of equipment for Zubo copy

Can you help add some funds to this equipment…? We are still lacking resources for the women’s subsistence during the multimedia training. The task is for the women to learn documenting their own work, daily live and culture of the Tonga people, and ultimately, to promote and market their local products, such as Tonga baskets, dried fish, soap from Jatropha oil or Baobab Juice.

We are currently running a fund-raiser in Germany supported by FUgE and Welthaus Bielefeld. Find the call-out (in German), further information and contact here: Spendenaufruf Zubo Trust Zimbabwe.

The project and its background:

Over the past five year, the local women’s organisation Zubo Trust has established successful economic empowerment projects securing the livelihood and self-reliance of women in rural Binga, Northern Zimbabwe. However, hardly anything of all this is known to outsiders. The BaTonga have been a marginalised community for long and Binga is far away from the country’s urban centres like Bulawayo and Harare.

Radio continental drift is soon joining the women of Zubo Trust in Binga as a “multimedia volunteer”. The media project with the women has been in the planning for more than a year. Recently, funds for some equipment could be procured from the German Boeckler Foundation/ Solidarity FundNow, subsistence of the women is our big worry – even more so, since Binga is badly effected by the current drought in Southern Africa.

All incoming funds from our call-out will be used to reimburse the women who participate in the media project and to help with the subsistence of those who wish to learn taking documentation and promotion in to their own hands for the benefit of the local community.

Here, you can listen to a podcast produced by African Women in Germany, which tells about the Tonga people and the women of Zubo Trust.

With your support, the women in Binga will soon be able producing their own podcasts and showcase their work and products on their website. Keep in touch with them here: http://www.zubo.org Thanks for listening and for your support!

Twalumba! from the women in Binga!

Radio continental drift

the new ZUBO

 

Swedish Radio features Remixes

2016/02/14

Sonic Cross-cultural exchanges 1

We are delighted about the announcement by Lisa Wall​, producer at Swedish National Radio, that the playlist of “Sonic cross-cultural exchanges” will feature in the Elektroniskt i P2​ show on Sunday 21st February 2016, CET 20:00.

The playlist features work by the following artists:
Sarah Washington (Germany, UK) – Annie Mpalume​ (Zimbabwe)
Gaël Segalen​ (France) and Pamela Kenmoé (US) – Chiwoniso Maraire; Linda Gabriel​; Ruvimbo Tenga​ (Zimbabwe); Zambia Popular Theatre Alliance (ZAPOTA)
DJ Kat Bpm​ (UK) – Soneni Sonny Gee Gwizi​; Virginia Phiri​ (Zimbabwe)
Felicity Ford​ (UK) – Esnart Mweemba​ (Zambia)
Patricia Walsh (UK) – Joyce Jenje Makwenda​ (Zimbabwe)
Dixie Treichel​ (US) – Mavis Moyo (Zimbabwe)
Dinah Bird​ (France) – Mavis Moyo (Zimbabwe)
Valerie Vivancos​ (France) – Mavis Moyo; Thandanani Women’s Ensemble (Zimbabwe)
Jordan Thomas​ (Canada) – Mulenga Kapwepwe (Zambia)
Luiza Schulz (Brazil, Austria) “Pontos de Escuta”
Antye Greie (Finland) – Ruvimbo Tenga (Zimbabwe)
Donna Maya​ (Germany) – Soneni Gwizi (Zimbabwe)
Danny Thompson​ (UK) – Soneni Gwizi; Virginia Phiri; Thembi Ngwabi (Zim.); Petronella Mkandawire​ (Zambia)
Anna Stereopoulou​ (Greece) – Virginia Phiri (Zimbabwe)
Sirpa Jokinen​ (Finland) – Virginia Phiri (Zimbabwe)
Inge van den Kroonenberg​ and “the Genetic Choir​” (Netherlands) – Virginia Phiri (Zimbabwe)
Additional:
DJ Xyramat [special remix for her radio show on Freies Sender Kombinat​ dedicated to the playlist on 8 May 2015]
Radio Continental Drift “Zambezi Women Call-out” (initial sonic call-out) Nov.2014

 

Lisa Wall, producer of the Elekctroniskt, a radio show dedicated to sound art, electronic  and electroacoustic music wrote to us:

“…We think this is a wonderful project – but even more important – it’s really good music! We are very much looking forward to introducing it to our audience. Please feel free to like our page and/or get in touch with me/us if you want to participate with more music – we are always listening for new wonderful stuff from around the globe.”

 

Remixes to “The Women of the Great River”

2015/12/31

 

As remix artists and storytellers, we join hands with our sista artists and storytellers elsewhere, in dedication to the art of listening and, to a shared vision of opening new resonance-space for yet unheard voices and communities in the so called “global information age”.  

Below on this blog, you’ll find eight chapters of thematic introductions to all the 18 remix contribution the “the Women of the Great River”: from “Tonga Anthem in Remix” to “Audio Journey through Binga”. Alternatively, you can brows for names of artists and related footage recordings here.

 

Tonga Anthem in remix

 

The playlist of all audio remixes to “The Women of the Great River” can be downloaded here [16 mp3 files, 108MB]

Women Empowerment

 

Audio/ Radio/ Arts

for consciousness building among global listeners.

 

Album 5

 

We received 18 contributions by 16 artists of 11 countries; 15 sonic remixes by 14 contributors; two further contributors responded in a visual remix. A warm thank-you to all the contributing artists.

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 00.04.21

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 00.04.28

 

On invitation of Athens composer, Anna Stereopoulou, we were partnering on this journey with CIRCE The Black Cut project. The resulting CIRCE Family Album VOX can be found now, for free download, HERE.

 

Colonial divide-and-rule stories in remix

 

Remix to VOX by LAPKAT aka DJ and Radio Maker Lisa Greenaway

 

Album 3

 

 

The fire of listening unites!

 

 

Passing on stories in remix

0 album 2

Tonga Anthem… in remix

2015/12/18

.

“…The River is for the Tonga people.

The river has fish and crocodiles…  

Our ancestors are ‘crying’…”

 

The above lines came via a quick text message from Michito Veronika, Zubo Trust’s communications officer, currently in the Netherlands, completing her MA dissertation. I had sent her the link to a recording asking whether the song following the Zimbabwe National Anthem was perhaps a kind of Tonga Anthem. “…oooh very nice. you have just made me miss home…,” Michito wrote and added the lines above in translation.

Listen to the recording here:

 

Award ceremony at Damba Primary School 2012

 

“The Tonga lost their land with the coming of Kariba but they have managed to retain much of their rich cultural heritage…”

Keith Goddard writes in his article “one man one note” (2005)

 

The recording of the Tonga Anthem was made in 2012, when I accompanied members of Basilwizi Trust  to an award ceremony at Damba Primary School. Damba is a tiny village, off the main road, in the bush-land near Manjolo.

 

All Africa Sound Map - Damba Primary

 

Together with Sihle Ndlovu, we recorded a number of interviews with women, in English and in ChiTonga and documented almost the entire award ceremony in Damba with recordings. Some clips from that day’s interviews are included in the call-out playlist such as by the young reserve teacher Florence Munsaka, and a Tonga song by Mary Munsaka, mother of one of the pupils.

Some soundscape recordings from the award ceremony are connected to the All Africa Sound Map like this Welcome Song by the Pupils of Damba to the arriving guests

 

Anthem - Damba ceremony

 

One of our contributors, the DJ Audio Storyteller, Crystal DJ Kwe Favel deeply identified with the stories, songs, sounds and voices she heard from the “The Women of the Great River”. Starting with the call-out playlist, DJ Kwe got on a journey of listening across many of the footage recordings from radio continental drift’s 2012 visit to Binga… a journey of listening which is still continuing as we speak and, will lead, so DJ Kwe, to an entire Album of her music dedicated to the Voices of Binga she heard…

The first track of her forthcoming Album however, Crystal DJ Kwe Favel is releasing already, here and now, contributing it as free-for download to “The Women of the Great River” call-out and CIRCE The Black Cut project/ Family Album. In her remix-contribution, DJ Kwe included two of the soundscape recordings of the Damba Award Ceremony, the Welcome Song of the Damba Pupils to arriving guests and, the BaTonga Anthem.

DJ Kwe (pronounced DJ Kway – means DJ Woman) is an Aboriginal Woman from the Cree & Metis Nation of Squamish, British Columbia, Canada.

 

 

Describing the samples used in the track, DJ Kwe writes:

  • Flutes – Indigenous to Native Canada/Turtle Island – Voices of our People – Sharing the Love
  • Frogs – symbol of transformation – recorded here on Native land. Frogs are Elders. Frogs live the balance between two worlds that often collide.
  • Damba Primary School Students – Welcome/Greeting Song – Special Tonga Anthem
  • Indigenous Girl Trill – Call for audio warriors to unite.
  • Tribal Drums – A common journey we share beyond the physical land.
  • House Beats – Electronica – a connection, a platform, a foundation to greet the world.
  • Synths – Inspire the world, together! Represents strength and power of positivity through nations across Mother Earth.

 

Damba ceremony gathering2

 

DJ Kwe writes about her contribution and motivation of her music:

“Our Native community is resilient; we have overcome slavery, displacement and documented genocide. It is in our blood to share our stories and oral tradition through audio. That is why it’s very important to introduce digital audio storytelling as another method to preserve our traditional stories and oral traditions. As we rebuild our family structures and heal from the generations of abuse, we are reconnecting through the use of modern tools. It is my goal to repair the hearts of my community through my music and writing. This is a motivational movement through electronica to reach for the stars, regardless of race.”

 

Announcement of DJ Kwe's forthcoming Album dedicated to Voices of Binga

 

The Album will be released on DJ Kwe’s own record label, Wax-Warriors-Records, in March 2016.

 

Siachilaba Baobab

 

“The People of the Great River”: The BaTonga are descendants of those who were forcefully removed from their fertile land at the Zambezi by the British Colonial Government in the 1950s. They had to escape into the arid, higher regions both sides of the Zambezi valley where agriculture is almost impossible. The land of their ancestors is now at the bottom of the Kariba Lake. Even after independence, water and electricity from the dam bypasse them serving others in the country. “Having lost everything, their culture survives strongly as a driving force of self-assertion, resilience and development.”

For information please also see some of the related websites:

Zubo TrustBasilwizi TrustMulongaKunzwana TrustTonga OnAirAustrian Zimbabwe Friendship Association

Passing on stories… in remix

2015/12/16

“It’s not just as if everyone is blowing their horns at any time; there’s a pattern and you can hear the pattern going and coming…

…one song for example is about a blind man, who went to Hwange in the year of hunger; he worked very hard and did very well and people got jealous of him, put poison in his beer and he died… – that’s the background story – even the small kids know the story…; but the lyrics are, ‘he drank the beer and he died’…

How’s this for passing on stories…?!

Penny Yon

 

 

Fascinated by the ways of passing on stories in lyrics, music and festivals in the BaTonga culture, three of the contributors to “The Women of the Great River” home in on Penny Yon’s and Esnart Mweemba’s descriptions of Tonga Music in clips 39 – 43 of the call-out playlist: The London-based painter, Alma Tischler Wood; the radio DJ and graphic artist, Terry Humphrey aka Trunkstore Arts, also from London; and the Austrian sound- and radio engineer and stage manager, Marcus C. Diess aka “Macussi” (his Tonga name).

 

'he drank the beer and he died" , painting/ digital print by Alma Tischler Wood

 

“he drank the beer and he died” – title of Alma Tischler Wood’s visual remix and, the lyrics of a Tonga song which Penny Yon introduces to us in clip 43 of the call-out playlist.

Alma Tischler Wood writes about her contribution:

‘I created digitally a pattern on the computer whilst listening to THE WOMEN OF THE GREAT RIVER (2) by radio continental drift. I was particularly impressed and amused by the subtle layers and rhythms of No. 43, Penny Yon’s Passing on Stories (…) I will create a painting (perhaps a series of paintings) of the pattern you can see on screen.’

A lyrics like “he drank the beer and he died” would be accompanied by a serial type of music, audio patterns as Penny Yon describes it, whereby drums beat the rhythm and the horns are each playing one note only and yet joining together in a musical pattern and composition – while the players would be at once dancing, sometimes running around, and the whole community being in motion…

A sample of BaTonga “Ngoma bontibe” music can be found on the Mulonga webpage (a composition by Siankwede Bokotela Mudenda; lyrics in ChiTonga/ English on the page, recorded in Siachilaba 1997, performed by the Simonga group); listen here

 

Lwiindi - photo M.C.Diess 2013

 

 

"BASKET" painting by Alma Tischler Wood

 

“…there’s a pattern and you can hear the pattern going and coming…”

Alma’s abstract composition seems to me working in a very similar way and manner. A pattern of same-size triangles in shades of grey tones (let’s say, the drums, “bontibe”) and primary colours (say, the horns, “nyele”) create music in motion before the eye. The triangle, by the way, is a sign and symbol common to many cultures on the continent and often used in decorative patterns such as on drums or on fabrics. The triangle stands for stability and balance.

 

Lwiindi_Speakers_cut - photo Marcus C Diess

 

 

The radio DJ and graphic artist, Terry Humphrey aka Trunkstore Arts in London created “Storyboard” (0:36) in contribution to “The Women of the Great River”. “Rapid listening and editing response,” Terry writes about his remix. The all-vocal piece could well function as a pattern, or a loop for a music, and dance – as it mainly draws on Esnarth’s chant from the Budima Ceremony which she sing as an example while telling about Budima. The piece also includes vocals from Penny Yon, Linda Mudimba, and Janet Mwiinde.

 

Budima - photo Basilwizi Bamulonga

 

Austrian sound- and radio engineer Marcus C. Diess created an intriguing musical encounter of women’s vocals from the call-out playlist and ambient recordings from the Lwiindi Festival, which “Macussi” (his Tonga name!) recorded on his visits to the Tonga community of Sinazongwe, Zambia in 2007 and 2013. In fact, Macussi’s skills were crucial in the establishment (2007) and technical updating (2013) of Zongwe Community Radio, as he was part of a team of community-radio-activists from Austria assisting Zongwe community in these tasks. Hear a broadcast by the station from 2007 about Lwiindi Ceremony.

 

 

Macussi aka Marcus C. Diess writes about his contribution:

“Recordings from my visits in Sinazongwe 2007 and 2013 (the Lwiindi Festival), Downloads from Continental drift . Hope Masike plays the Mbira Loops, the violine is played by Tony Stricker. Both live recorded in Bad Ischl 2014 by myself. Samples of a Kalimba played by me.”   Vocals from the call-out playlist include Penny Yon, Linda Mudimba, Janet Mwiinde, Agness Buya Yombwe, Esnart Mweemba, Barbara Mudimba and Viola Mwembe.

Do watch Macussi’s documentary to learn more about Zongwe Community Radio and the Lwiindi Festival of the Zambian Tonga in Sinasongwe. The first half of the film tells the story of Zongwe Community Radio; the second half, about the Lwiindi festival:

 

 

The film beautifully relates the BaTonga ritual during Lwiindi to go out on a boat on Lake Kariba and fetch water above the ancient Shines of the ancestors – now at the bottom of the lake. The women then carry the water in procession, accompanied by all the musicians with their drums, rattles and horns to the current Shines of the Chiefs male and female ancestors and share the water – together with locally brewed beer over the sacred burial grounds.

“The Tonga lost their land with the coming of Kariba but they have managed to retain much of their rich cultural heritage. The major threat has been the coming of some missions which preach that ngoma bontibe is of the devil. If these missionaries are to get their way and the Valley tonga are to stop performing their music, the Valley Tonga will finally have had everything stripped from them – even their unique cultural identity.”

For more about Tonga music, you may read the articles on the website of “Kunzwana”. I highly recommend the article by Keith Goddard “One man one note” from which the above quote is taken.

Women Empowerment… in Binga remix

2015/12/15

… did you ask yourself about women’s liberation in the rural communities of Binga in Zimbabwe…?

The contributions by Sirpa Jokinen, audio artist from Finland, and by Yes Afrika Women’s Forum to “The Women of the Great River” call-out tell us about it – based on the stories brought to us by Rosemary Cumanzala, director of the women’s organisation Zubo Trust in Binga.

 

the new ZUBO

 

“…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.

 

Rosemary at Hamm station

 

It is this story – clip10 of the call-out playlist – which Sirpa Jokinen embeds in a resonant scenario with her remix. Listen to Sirpa’s beautiful accentuation of Rosemary’s story of women’s empowerment in Binga:

 

 

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

“…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…”

 

the "old" ZUBO - photo: Zubo Trust

 

So goes the continuation of Rosemary’s story documented in the footage recordings of the Yes Afrika Women’s Forum.

Podcast 5, contributed by Yes Afrika Women’s Forum, features Rosemary’s story of women empowerment in Binga and places it in a triple frame: Rosemary’s conversation and exchange of experiences with members of Yes Afrika Women’s Forum in Germany in June 2015; the story of Zubo’s all-women-fishery project told by Rosemary’s junior colleague in Binga, Abbigal Muleya (recorded in Nov.2012); and, the history of the BaTonga’s displacement from the river (using clips 2, 3, 5, 10, 12, 14 and 56 of the call-out playlist).

 

 

Craft Centre - women empowerment

 

ZUBO Trust is a women-run organization working with the rural women of the Zambezi valley in Zimbabwe since 2009. Offices are in Binga and Bulawayo. 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.

 

 

Abbigal Muleya talks about the work of Zubo Trust with the women in Binga to radio continental drift/ claudia wegener, in a recording from 2012 in Binga outside Basilwizi Office.

 

office Bailwisi - Kariba Lake

 

 

Mothers of Education and Custodians of Culture

2015/12/09

 

…celebrated in sonic remix by the vocalist-lyricist-composer Ms. Soli Tii in Berlin, artists/ composer Joseph Ba aka BroodingSideofMadness and the music/ poetry duo Asymmetroi Faroi in Greece and, in visual remix by the painter, researcher and art teacher Agness Buya Yombwe, based in Livingstone, Zambia.

 

Album 5

 

These contributions celebrate the important social roles of mothers passing on indigenous culture and knowledge to their children and grandchildren and, ensuring with their hard daily work, often in subsistence farming, a basic education for their children.

 

 

This stands against the dark background of colonialism – of yesterday and today – leaving impoverished communities where education of girl children became a luxury and child marriages are frequent. Additionally, the histories of colonial interference and missionary work on the continent, often left an imprint of patriarchal social structures on post-independent nations; where possibly before, in matrilineal tribes of Southern Africa, women’s rights and economic independence were safeguarded in indigenous tradition.

 

Linda_andSichle_BaslwiziOffice_BingaNov12_rcd

 

The remixes of Joseph Ba and Assymetroi Faroi lend resonance to Linda Mudimba’s “praise song” for her Mum. Linda Mudimba is a student of African languages and Communication at Lupane State University, Zimbabwe (or perhaps she is already working as a journalist writing in ChiTonga – as was her vision…); at the time of the recordings Linda was one of the National Volunteers with Basilwizi Trust in Binga.

 

 

 

From the call-out playlist, Ms. Soli Tii has chosen the voices of two women talking of their mother and grandmother and, something like the love and duty to the culture they inherited through their female elders… Esnart Mweemba (Zambia) talks about her mother’s special art of basket weaving; Simudenda Bertha (Zimbabwe) recounts learning the art of bead-making from her grandmother, now passing it on to her children; she adds an appeal to the Tonga people to value and appreciate their culture. The two tracks could be seen to represent the BaTonga both sides of the Zambezi, one people today separated by the man-made lake of Kariba.

 

 

Ms. Soli Tii herself has started a musical women’s project called the “World Women’s Project”, which as she writes on the website was inspired by “The Women of the Great River”; and is dedicated to the memory of her late mother.

 

red beads on the bed, painting from the Taboo series by Agness Buya Yombwe 2015


I’m delighted presenting the first contribution of an artist from the region to “The Women of the Great River” call-out, Agness Buya Yombwe in Livingstone Zambia. Agness’ paintings are a visual remix to clip 51 in the playlist, a recording in which Luyando and her aunt Janet talk about female initiation rights among the Tonga people in front of related artifacts at the BaTonga Museum in Binga. Here, Janet relates the women’s custom of placing red beads (which she’s usually wearing) on the bed, indicating to her husband that she’s in her menstrual cycle.

A warm thank you to ‪Anna Stereopoulou who created a beautiful page hosting ‪Agness Buya Yombwe art works and, the many stories around the images and source recordings.

In clip 54 of the Call-out playlist, you can hear Agness Buya Yombwe herself talking about her experience of listening to the recordings with Janet and Luyando in Binga.  It was there and then that Agness “promised” making a painting about what she had heard from Janet. 

 

Mbusa teachings - photo Agness Buya Yombwe

 

I played the Binga recordings to Agness, knowing her interest and research about indigenous cultures, and the “Mbusa” (female initiation rights) among the Bemba people in particular. The above photo shows the Mbusa teachings in process at Wayi Wayi Gallery’s permanent Mbusa installation room.

A Visual Artist, designer and art teacher from Lusaka, Agness founded and runs Wayi Wayi Art Studio & Gallery with her husband, the painter Laurence Yombwe, in Livingstone, Zambia.

 

Wayi Wayi on Aporee Maps

Colonial divide-and-rule stories… in remix

2015/12/04

 

“…I’m also fascinated by the Tonga people because they are marginalized like I am…”  (Penny Yon)

 

Zim flag Tyunga School

 

The remix by sound-artist Inge van den Kroonenberg transports Penny Yon’s story of a “mixed race” Zimbabwean to another level and, “extracts” the painful awakening of the people after independence that Colonialism was not over, but in fact continuing in new guises… – though, at least in Inge’s evocative remix, there’s a “tongue in cheek” too; things are never one-dimensional… Coffee may be one of the first and major goods extracted by European colonialists from the African continent – the noises of coffee-making sound like an explosion to a nearby microphone, carrying the history of an ongoing colonial exploitation…; but, “the ritual of coffee-making is bringing people together” to tell their stories…

 

 

Inge van den Kroonenberg writes about her remix:

“I put the original voice recording on microcassette and mixed it with my coffeepot coming to a boil. By moving the microphone and tape deck around the stove the sounds of voice, tape, gas and boiling coffee blend together in a distorted murmur. I choose these particular sounds and the social/economical/political issues they are linked to; gas extraction, transportation of coffee beans and (the history of) colonization as a situation that is still ‘boiling’. But I also wanted to refer to the ritual of coffee making and how it brings people together to share thoughts and conversation in an intimate and familiar way.”

 

Inge’s remix also resonates, to my ears, with the sounds of radio communication.. even Morse code at the start of the piece… and again, as with the sounds of coffee-making, there is a double edge to the history of radio broadcasts, as a tool of oppression, or one of liberation…

 

Zongwe FM in Sinazongwe Zambia - photo M.C.Diess

 

Zongwe Community Radio, a Zambian station across the Kariba Lake broadcasting into Zimbabwe since 2013 supported by Panos Southern Africa, Basilwizi Trust and the Zimbabwe Austrian Friendship Association. So the people in Binga can now hear programmes in ChiTonga broadcast by their “cousins” on the other side of Kariba Lake. In Zimbabwe itself community radio licenses though existing since 2000 have not yet been granted. The state-broadcaster ZBC occasionally airs programs in ChiTonga, but the radio signals cannot be received in Binga.

 

Geography class in Siachilaba Primary School

 

…we are on the grounds of Siachilaba Primary School in the Binga district of the Zambezi Valley… listening to a geography class under a tree…

a clip from the recording also features in the call-out playlist of “The Women of the Great River”

 

Album 4b

 

 

A history of displacement… in sonic remix

2015/12/02

…told by Janet Mwiinde and Luyando Muyalali in Binga remixed by DJ and Radio Maker Lisa Greenaway aka LAPKAT in Australia

 

Damba ceremony 2012

 

It’s the history of displacement of the BaTonga from their ancestry land at the Zambezi, which Lisa Greenaway brings to resonate in her composition. In the original recording, Janet and Luyando are telling me about the meaning of a ritual whereby, during a public ceremony, a woman quietly went around the speakers splashing water from a bucket on the ground. Janet says, the water may refer to the Zambezi, life source of the Tonga people; and her nice Luyando adds that the water may be here a memorial gift to the ancestors, and especially those who lost their lives when the Kariba Dam was constructed by the colonial government and the rising water of the Zambezi flooded the ancestry land of the BaTonga.

 

 

The BaTonga are descendants of those who were forcefully removed from their fertile land at the Zambezi by the British Colonial Government in the 1950s. They had to escape into the arid, higher regions both sides of the Zambezi valley where agriculture is almost impossible. The land of their ancestors is now at the bottom of the Kariba Lake. Even after independence, water and electricity from the dam bypasse them serving others in the country. “Having lost everything their culture survives strongly as a driving force of self-assertion, resilience and development.” For information please also see some of the related websites: Zubo Trust, Basilwizi Trust, Mulonga, Kunzwana, Austrian Zimbabwe Friendship Association 

 

Damba- water ritual 3

 

As I first witnessed the ritual during a public ceremony in the village of Damba, I’d imagine that the water ritual may be part and parcel of many ceremonies among the BaTonga, including most probably initiation or weddings. The two songs in the remix belong to female initiation rites and wedding (as far as I’m aware…). One is sung by Janet Mwiinde, from, what’s now, the Zimbabwe side of Lake Kariba; the other, by Christine, Ester and Mtenda, three Tonga women from the Zambian shore of the Zambezi (though now living in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe).

 

Album 3

 

listen to the sounds of the “water ritual” at Damba Primary School

 

All Africa Sound Map - Damba Primary


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