On the 27th of September 2023, renowned mbira player, singer, and dancer Hope Masike, also known as ‘Gwenyambirakadzi,’ conducted a training workshop with students from the Department of Music Business, Musicology, and Technology at Midlands State University (MSU).
The workshop aimed to educate the students on the history of the mbira music instrument and its current state locally and internationally.
Dr. Claudio Chipendo, the Chairperson of the Department of Music Business, Musicology, and Technology, introduced Hope Masike and emphasized the significance of learning from Gwenyambirakadzi’s multi-talented skills as a singer, songwriter, mbira player, and dancer.
Gwenyambirakadzi shared her personal story, highlighting how her career began and her academic journey in music and songwriting.
Hope Masike emphasized that her music prowess can be traced back to her mother, a choirmaster who provided her with the necessary guidance and direction to attain the correct tone, rhythm, pitch, and tempo.
During a question-and-answer session, MSU student Josephine Mugadza asked the musician how she was overcoming a challenging industry dominated by men and full of gender stereotypes that say male musicians perform better than females.
In response, Hope Masike expressed her pride in breaking with tradition and redefining the mbira instrument to be associated with females who can also compose songs with social messages.
She believes that gender discrimination exists in all industries but should not affect individuals as females and that females can also be singers and play mbira like men.
The role of music, according to Masike, is to entertain, educate, and be a voice for the voiceless.
Hope Masike ended her presentation with a poem as she played mbira, which left the students buzzing with excitement.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Claudio Chipendo thanked Hope Masike for taking her time to attend the workshop despite her busy schedule to come and educate the music students on mbira.