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Elders preserve culture through indigenous musical instruments

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Against the backdrop of globalisation's sway over traditional cultures, a remarkable effort has surfaced in the heart of the Vhembe District. Led by elders deeply connected to their heritage, the African Indigenous Instrument Preservation NPC has stepped into the spotlight. This group, consisting of seasoned musicians from various Limpopo communities, convenes bi-monthly at Thohoyandou Arts and Culture Centre. Rejecting modern influences, they stand as guardians of African indigenous music, committed to preserving its essence for future generations.

Yet, their mission extends beyond mere preservation as a quest for revitalisation and rejuvenation. Through workshops, performances, and educational outreach programmes, the organisation seeks to instil a sense of pride and ownership among younger generations, nurturing a newfound appreciation for their musical heritage.

According to one of the founder members, Mr Maluta Matsheka, their mission is to protect and propagate the rich sounds that have echoed through the African continent for centuries. “What sets us apart is our commitment to authenticity. Unlike many contemporary endeavours, we refuse to dilute our music with modern instrumentation or Western influences. At the core of our ethos lies a profound reverence for our ancestors and the musical traditions they bestowed upon us. We believe that to truly honour their legacy, we must preserve our music in its purest form, untainted by the trappings of modernity.”

Matsheka said that, central to their efforts was the preservation of indigenous instruments, each imbued with cultural significance and symbolic resonance. “From the resonant tones of the mbila to the hypnotic rhythm of tshihwana, lugube, and tshipotolio, these instruments serve as conduits to a bygone era, connecting contemporary listeners to the spiritual essence of their ancestors.”

Fellow group member Mackson Mavunda remarked: "Our music is more than just entertainment. It is a repository of wisdom, a vessel through which our collective history and identity are transmitted. By immersing ourselves in the rhythms of our forebears, we not only honour their memory but reaffirm our place in the continuum of African culture.”

The group extended their sincere gratitude to local renowned cultural activist and Vhembe Convener of Limpopo Community Arts Committee Nndoweni Malala, who offered them admin support in a quest to develop and appreciate the role of community arts building social cohesion.

 

 
 

Members of the African Indigenous Instrument Preservation NPC were captured with their indigenous instruments after one of their rehearsals at the Thohoyandou Arts and Culture Centre. Photo supplied.

 

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