Hundreds of people who attended the My Beautiful Home awards giving ceremony at Amagugu International Heritage Centre on 15 October 2016 had more than just the competition to talk about. The true stars of the event, the award winning women who had spent time and effort beautifying their homes as part of the competition and had been waiting for this day since May, had to share the limelight with a young man from Whitewaters in Matobo.
Nkosini Ndlovu, clad in all white outfit stole the limelight and left the crowd asking for more with his rare, funky music. His drumming kit is not typical. It is made from locally available materials and is mixture of talent meets innovation – it is made of old pots (yes, you read it right! Pots!), goat skin and barbed wire. Ndlovu is a self taught drummer and singer. His music and drumming skills gets everyone on the dance floor and always leaves the crowd clamoring for more.
“I was very pleased to see that the crowd loved my music,”said Ndlovu. “As an artist, I strive to make music which is fun but also educative. I thank Amagugu for giving me the platform and opportunities to perform for so many people and share the stage with big artists from Bulawayo.”
Cheerful, effervescent and upbeat, Ndlovu is a natural performer. Ndlovu’s performance at the My Beautiful Home 2016 awards ceremony was part of AIHC’s rural talent promotion initiative. In the past, AIHC has brought Ndlovu to perform at the 2015 Ibumba Festival, a township arts festival in Makokoba, Bulawayo. He also performed at the inaugural edition of the Traditional Foods and Beverages Expo in Matobo in June 2016. AIHC is currently facilitating a collaboration with Ndlovu and Bulawayo- based Imbube outfit, Great Stars.
“I’m very excited to be working with the guys from Ibumba, I mean these are top guys from the city and for me, someone from rural Matobo, this means a lot,” said Ndlovu, smiling broadly.
The collaboration is meant to give Ndlovu exposure and help him develop his skills meanwhile building his profile as an artist. As part of AIHC’s mission to enhance the creative and cultural value chain in rural Zimbabwe through promoting local artist, the organisation, AIHC works with rural artists such as Ndlovu and traditional craft persons, poets and music groups.
“We have noted that despite having so much talent, rural artists are barely making headway financially or otherwise due to access to markets and training,” says Butholezwe Nyathi, Amagugu programs Manager.
“We see skills development as very critical in improving the economic value of rural arts and craft, thus translating to meaningful incomes for the artists. As an institution, we have also made a deliberate effort to provide a platform for these rural artist to also showcase their talent and skills.”
To this end, AIHC facilitated a drumming exchange with the Amagugu resident dance group- Amagagasi Olwandle, Ingozi Thutshu with renowned drumming and dance outfit- Drums of Peace.
AIHC also runs a craft shop as part of the business development and market linkages program that AIHC runs in support of the local artists and the rural arts and craft industry in Matobo.
“We want to give our rural crafts international prominence and that requires unlocking the door to international markets for the rural craft persons,” says Nyathi.” However, access to markets is much more than just space, its also about producing something that the market can consume, artifacts that meet market specifications of aesthetics and size. AIHC partnered with the National Handicraft Centre to achieve this and they have done a training for the rural crafts persons to equip them to produce for the international markets. Albeit this is only the beginning and we are eager to see the improvement.”