Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Arts Reporter
Bulawayo-based traditional group, Songs of Queen Lozikeyi, put up a scintillating performance on Tuesday night at their send-off ceremony to the Expo 2020 Dubai where they will perform on Zimbabwe’s National Day.
The ceremony was held at the Alliance Francaise in Harare at a function attended by diplomats and officials from the arts sector.
The event was facilitated by acting director for National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, Josiah Kusena, who welcomed guests, board members and introduced the guest of honour.
You could see the selected invited guests nodding their heads in appreciation of the group’s performance. Songs of Queen Lozikeyi, is made up of mainly females as lead singers and dancers, while a few men are on the instruments.
The performance is a vivid musical tribute, celebrating the life and historical significance of Queen Lozikeyi of the Ndebele state. According to the artistic director, Saimon Mambazo Phiri, they chose to present the heroine, Queen Lozikeyi in their performance, which also coincides with the Women’s Month celebrations.
“Queen Lozikeyi was described as beautiful, powerful in stature and a perceptive master of scheming. “Songs of Lozikeyi are not just about singing, but about knowledge and wisdom.
“Wherever I go in the world, the biggest players in those industries celebrate their own stories. If you look at the British, they celebrate King George and if you go across to South Africa, you will see the way that they celebrate King Shaka and others.” Mambazo, as he is affectionately known in the arts production set up, said their performance was different from what most people are used to, know or anticipate. “It is different for us and we are to set an undeletable mark. We are a country that is not telling its own stories, so this is the start of telling our own history through this performance – our trial attempt to track the biggest symbols of our history, women.”
Minister of Youth, Sport, Art and Recreation, Kirsty Coventry, said in a send-off speech read by the director of Arts and Culture Promotion and Development in her ministry, Dr Biggie Samwanda, that the event offered an opportunity to experience Zimbabwean history and culture through music.
Minister Coventry said Songs of Queen Lozikeyi was a production which Government commissioned to be showcased at the Expo 2020 Dubai Zimbabwe National Day.
“The National Day represents an important platform to showcase Zimbabwe culture and hospitality to visitors at the on-going global business expo in Dubai,” she said.
“This production was selected after its impressive debut at the Bulawayo Arts Festival in 2021. It is my conviction that the show carries a positive message that chronicles an important aspect of Zimbabwean history and would be well received at the Expo Dubai stage.”
Minister Coventry said Expo 2020 Dubai National Day performances by Songs of Queen Lozikeyi were in line with the National Cultural and Creative Industries Strategy that was launched in 2020, which is the roadmap for the development and growth of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) sector in Zimbabwe. “The strategy comprises 10 pillars which firmly position the CCIs as pivotal for the sector’s role in national economic development and employment creation.
“The performance is part of the Cultural Markets and Business Development Pillar of the NCCIS which recognises that activities such as international touring, cultural exchanges, collaborations, licences, residencies, touring performances and exhibitions showcase opportunities and more audience and marketplace exposure.”
Minister Coventry said the Dubai foray provided global connections for CCIs practitioners and is expected to extend the life and impact of their work.
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