Vongai Mbara Arts Correspondent
History was made last Thursday as Zimbabwe became the first country in the world to have the largest marimba ensemble to ever play together. Dubbed ZiMarimba Fest, the record breaking event was held at Prince Edward School as part of the Africa Day celebrations and attracted more than 50 schools countrywide as well as seasoned marimba players.
ZiMarimba Fest became the world’s largest ensemble with a total of 222 marimba participants, beating the former record of 108 participants previously held by Australia’s Oxley State School.
Endorsed by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, Jesuit Education Office, Zimbabwe College of Music and the Zimbabwean Tourism Authority, the ensemble played the famous marimba song “Manhanga Kutapira”.
The event’s organiser, 17-year-old multi-talented performer and Zimbabwe Championships of Performing Arts (ZiCOPA) finalist Mpiwa Gwindi ,could not hide her excitement as her dream came true.
“This is amazing because it has always been my dream to fly our country’s flag high. It was not easy and we faced a lot of challenges.
“The biggest challenge was to get everyone to synchronise since we were a large group of performers. However, we figured it out and we managed to break the world record,” said an ecstatic Gwindi.
Among the participants was Prince Edward from Harare, who are the national marimba champions and current holders of the trophy, Zimbabwe College of Music, Peterhouse School; Zengeza School; Highfield School; Hwedza School; Still Waters Learning Academy of Ruwa; Hippo of Nyanga, Mutare as well as schools from Masvingo, Marondera and Chisha- washa.
Junior schools like Eaglesvale and Destiny Primary School also took part in the record-breaking event.
An exciting mini marimba challenge for the participants also took place and the winners won amazing prizes including cash in the ZiMarimba Fest mini raffle draw. Afro-fusion songstress Ammara Brown also made a guest appearance.