Tendai Rupapa in MOSCOW, Russia
FIRST Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa had a memorable time yesterday when she attended a musical concert at the invitation of Russian pianist and philanthropist Mr Yury Rozum.
Dr Mnangagwa and her delegation were treated to sweet music that was being played by youths who are also the beneficiaries of Mr Yury’s philanthropic works.
Mr Yury also mesmerised the delegation with his skills on the piano.
He expressed willingness to partner Dr Mnangagwa’s Angel of Hope Foundation in exchange of programmes and master class lessons. This would entail the foundation sending students to learn from him, while he also sends his to Zimbabwe.
He spoke about the prospects of providing scholarships in music to Zimbabwean students under Angel of Hope Foundation.
The celebrated pianist and philanthropist who showed extensive knowledge of Zimbabwe, went down memory lane describing how beautiful Zimbabwe is and the sold out gigs he staged in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls more than 30 years ago.
“There was a time when I travelled every year to Zimbabwe and Botswana,” he said.
“I had so many friends there. I would have up to three concerts in one city. I would perform in Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and it is still etched in my mind. Thirty years have gone by now, but I still remember every corner of the beautiful country. I would play with my orchestra so I want to drink to this fantastic and unique country, unique people and it’s a great honour for all of us to have you Amai as a guest in my modest place. It’s small, but full of music and friendship.
“You will hear tonight some of my gifted scholars I support. We concentrate on musically gifted children in Russia and Belarussia, a republic which is our neighbour country and we pay their scholarships. It would be great to also have students from Zimbabwe,” he said with a broad smile.”
Mr Yury said he arranged concerts and masterclasses for children under his wing to develop their talents.
“We arrange concerts for them, we arrange masterclasses for them and for me it’s very interesting to communicate with the First Lady who also runs her own charity foundation and I think it would be a noble idea to do some culture exchange with talented youths from Zimbabwe,” he said.
“It will be very interesting when you see my students performing, I am sure you will be very impressed and my dream is that Zimbabwe as a very cultured country would listen to them, would hear them and they also would see Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean culture.
“Zimbabwean culture is original and also classical because I remember there are a lot of very nice musicians including the orchestra in Harare. For them it would be interesting to hear about our talents and our talents would be interested to communicate with them. We will do our best to bring our orchestras together and our youngsters together. I am convinced that it will work through the guidance of Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa.”
The First Lady was elated to have been invited to the concert.
“They have invited me to come here and I have met another philanthropist like me,” she said happily.
“Yes, we should be friendly foundations,” Mr Yury interjected.
Dr Mnangagwa said it was prudent for their foundations to work together since they both do philanthropic work.
“We know that foundations are there to help people that are disadvantaged and downtrodden so we should share more,” she said. “I am happy that I am talking to somebody who knows Zimbabwe. I invite you to come back again to our beautiful country Zimbabwe. There are so many changes ever since you left and many tourists sites.”
“I will, I will,” Mr Yury said happily, adding in jest: “I will cancel all my concerts to come to Zimbabwe.”
Mr Rozum founded the Yuri Rozum International Charitable Foundation in April 2005, as a means of providing scholarships to promising young musicians as well as the promotion of major annual music festivals.
Also in attendance was Mr Panov Yuri, rector from the Russian Geological University who said his institution had received more than 26 delegations from African countries who were keen to learn more in mining and research.
He said his university was willing to partner with the Angel of Hope Foundation.
“Since April we have met 26 students from Africa who are interested in mining and research. We are pleased to offer you a book telling you the history of Russia and our university so that we find ways to cooperate with you,” he said.
The First Lady said Zimbabwe survived mainly on agriculture and mining, with women and youths involved.
“Zimbabwe survives on agriculture and mining and we have women and youths who are involved in those sectors. I am a patron for women in agriculture. So we are willing to partner with your university so that our students also learn from you,” she said.