One of the most enjoyable performances Sunduza and I did was at Eziko Arts Laboratory at the Ndlovu Centre in Tshabalala. These events are run by performance poet Desire Moyoxide and provide the opportunity for artists at any stage of their careers to try out new material on a friendly, supportive and enthusiastic audience.
I was pleased to meet up with old friends like the amazing marimba group Rainbow Blaze who did a storming performance, and familiar faces in the audience like Ishmael Muvingi, a good friend of Simon’s and a superb singer, from the dance theatre group Siyaya.
It had been two years since I was last at Ndlovu. It is an old and rather rundown youth centre and several groups of artists rehearse there – when I first visited Zimbabwe I went there regularly to rehearse with imbube group Umdumo Wesizwe. The place suffered from neglect and lack of funding – I have a strong unpleasant memory of finding maggots in the women’s toilets. Now however the place has been transformed into a vibrant arts venue. It was buzzing with activity and I was both nervous and excited at the opportunity to perform some of the songs we had been rehearsing and recording.
The Sunduza guys were wearing matching blue tops and Charlie took me around one of the markets in the city centre to find something suitable for myself, an impressive flowing purple dress which I hoped gave me a Miriam Makeba look. Simon was always vary particular about his stage wear and as this was the place where he and Jeys Marabini had performed Zulu Buya I wanted to do him proud.
I look back fondly on our set at Eziko – it was chaotic at times with sound engineers running around fixing my microphones but the atmosphere was electric and our performance elicited an emotional response from the audience. I hope this comes across in the video clip.