Pamodzi Issiyo Project

Involved alumni:

The challenge that the project addresses

Our communities are blessed with arts creatives that may, if nurtured be appreciated by the world. In Zimbabwe, the new primary school curriculum has introduced Visual and Performing Arts. Visual and Performing Arts and students have begun to learn music, dance, theatre and all things artistic as a subject. Unfortunately, all they get to learn is theory as most schools lack the resources to teach scholars to play a musical instrument. Pamodzi-Issiyo seeks to provide access to musical instruments and knowledge about organology and maintenance.

What is your project doing to respond to this challenge?

The project has collected seventy melodica and recorders in Japan through a partnership between Edith and her former cohort at SOAS, Kayo Yoshida. The musical instruments will be distributed to three institutions in Zimbabwe. Communication with the beneficiary schools has been made and a pathway on how this project will run has been shared. Edith and Kayo will travel to Zimbabwe on the 24th August 2022 and deliver training workshops. The duo has planned a handover ceremony where a performance will be presented. The recorders have been in the process of checking fir any damage and cleaning them, as well as the melodica. Edith has registered with the Arts Council of Zimbabwe for easy clearance of the music instruments into Zimbabwe. It is our hope that this will be the beginning of a long-standing agreement as we seek to develop the communities in Zimbabwe through music. We will through this project provide a pathway and opportunity for learners to have an appreciation and understanding of what they need to bolster their creativity. Edith has, over the years, provided mentorship programs for creative students in the rural and urban schools in Zimbabwe and this project opens the door further for access.

The selected institutions are Eastridge Primary School, Cranborne Boys School, Music Crossroads Academy Kids Inspire and the Midlands State University Harare school. The project aims to train ten first year music students from the Midlands State. These may be practicing musicians studying or music teachers furthering their education as is normally the case. We selected the first-year undergrads as this will allow us time to monitor and evaluate the project and their progress throughout their time of study. By end of first year, we hope that the undergrads will have spread our reach to ten provinces where they teach.

Describe the project's impact

The inquiries made at the selected schools were proof that the curriculum is being taught and there was not enough equipment to practice on. The deputy headmistress at Cranborne said the piano in the school hall was in such a dilapidated state and out of tune. And that is all they have as an instrument for practice. Kids Inspire at the Music Crossroads Academy will add on to their already existing curriculum, two new musical instruments for the children that meet every weekend. Caught at a very young age, this training will foster a practicing discipline in the children, knowing they have an instrument to sharpen their skills on. My experience at the Midlands State also pointed to a lack of instruments to practice on. Providing the school with free instruments means that we have given a lifeline to a musician in need. The school also gains access at no cost, as well as training for their music teachers. Providing access where there was none, the students will learn the instrument and get an opportunity to appreciate western music cultures and open an avenue to explore further for the benefit of their talent development.