Zimbabwe College of Music empowers female artistes
The following article was originally published inÂ NewsDay
29 May 2015
Written byÂ Winstone Antonio
ZIMBABWE College of Music executive director Rachel Jera-Chigwanda has challenged female musicians to scale greater heights and go beyond playing second fiddle merely as dancers and backing vocalists in male-led bands.
Speaking to NewsDay on the sidelines of a concert featuring upcoming female musicians undertaking instrument lessons at the Zimbabwe College of Music, Jera-Chigwanda said women should develop self-confidence and gun for honours as they developed their careers in music.
â€œAfter realising that a lot of women have not risen to the top tiers in music bands as they are just dancers and backing vocalists, we decided to come up with a programme aimed at empowering them to play instruments,â€ Chigwanda said.
She bemoaned that female musicians often lingered in the background with men playing the dominant role in groups.
â€œThe reality of the situation today is that female musicians remain remarkably more isolated as men occupy better posts in a band which we are saying must change and women must be empowered to be instrumentalists,â€ she said.
About 120 upcoming female musicians are taking lessons in different music instruments at the Zimbabwe College of Music courtesy of the collegeâ€™s partnership with Culture Fund of Zimbabwe and Swedish Embassy.
â€œWe had a talent search in different suburbs in the capital and after identifying the potential candidates lessons then commenced,â€ Jera-Chigwanda said.
â€œOur hope is that after this training these females will be able to showcase their talent and prove that women can also do it matching their male counterparts.â€
Students undergoing the training applauded the institution for coming up with such a programme aimed at equipping them with the relevant skills.
â€œFor long I have wanted to be an instrumentalist, but it was hard for me to get someone who would show me the ropes. I am happy that that the Zimbabwe College of Music has afforded me the opportunity through this programme,â€ said Nicholar Mutuma.
â€œAs women we should challenge men in terms of playing instruments rather than just being recruited as dancers or backing vocalists.â€
Another student, Tanya Charingira, said the programme had helped her to have self-confidence on the stage.
â€œI want to pursue music as a career and being part of this programme has helped me understand how to conduct myself while on stage as a professional artiste,â€ she said.
The second phase of the concert will be held on June 4 at the same venue, marking the end of the programme.