Midlands State University marimba ensemble, Rimba Resonance, participated at the 5th Annual Education Africa International Marimba and Steelpan Festival that was held at Tom Newby Primary School in Johannesburg, South Africa from the 30th to the 31st of July 2016.
The festival, which is regarded as the largest of its kind in the world, drew together over 1600 performers from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
The festival was characterised by various performances that took the form of competitions in different categories, as well as workshops on a variety of traditional instruments and topics. Adjudicators for the performances included marimba specialists Gerard van de Geer (Australia), Bongani Sotshononda, Dr Andile Khumalo and Pops Mohamed from South Africa, steelpan specialists Andy Narell and Hallie Blejewski (USA).
Making its maiden appearance at the festival, Midlands State University lived up to its billing as a music powerhouse of note, both locally and regionally as they put on sterling performances. Competing in the open age group, Rimba Resonance won first place in both the ‘Small Ensembles’ and ‘Large Ensembles’ categories and finished as second runners-up in the ‘Mix’ category.
For their spectacular performances in the hotly contested marimba competitions, Rimba Resonance walked away with 3 trophies, a guitar and a keyboard.
Speaking after the competition, Rimba Resonance patron and department of Music and Musicology lecturer, Mr Wonder Maguraushe commended the band for its hard work, dedication and commitment, noting that this was a great achievement as this was the group’s 1st major competition. He also took the opportunity to thank the MSU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ngwabi Bhebe and his administrative team for their support.
In the same vein, Student Representative Council (SRC), Minister of Religion and Cultural Affairs, Prince Bosha, who travelled with Rimba Resonance, also took the opportunity to thank members of the University community who helped to make the trip a success.
Speaking on behalf of Rimba Resonance, band president, Enock Gaku, expressed gratitude for the support the band received from the MSU Music and Musicology Department and the University as a whole. Gaku also noted that the best was yet to come, promising greater exploits by Rimba Resonance in the foreseeable future.
Established in 2012 by Education Africa, a South African non-profit organisation (NPO), this year’s edition of the festival was part of the Africa Month initiative, which seeks to promote social cohesion not only among South Africans but also among Africans throughout the continent and the world at large.