JMU will be hosting a talented group from Zimbabwe on their first American tour on Thursday. The well-known female quintet a capella group from Zimbabwe will continue its first American tour at JMU beginning at 8 p.m. in Forbes Concert Hall. The group’s music includes Zimbabwean, Afro-Jazz and gospel music.
The group was discovered by the founder of 10th District Music, a record label that promotes local Zimbabwean music. Dumisani Moyo is the founder of 10th District Music and is a vocalist as well.
“I came up with the idea of putting together five female voices to sing a capella since there was no such group in Zimbabwe,” Moyo, its main manager and founder of 10th District Music in Zimbabwe, said.
After auditioning individually, Moyo decided the five members of Nobuntu would be better as a group. The group began its journey at Bulawayo Culture Festival at the Art Gallery in their hometown of Bulawayo.
“In the very beginning it was not easy due to many factors; the members did not know each other and never worked together before,” Moyo said in an email. “Some members left until the present cast of Nobuntu found each other in spirit and harmony. Managing a group which is intact is much easier.”
Nobuntu, translated from Zimbabwean, means “mother of humanity.” When the group meshed together both in spirit and harmony, everything fell into place.
In the beginning of its journey as a quintet, Nobuntu’s rehearsals and production were both monitored. Now, the production company of the group, 10th District Music, only does administration. The group composes original songs and also creates the choreography along with them.
Duduzile Sibanda is one of the five members of Nobuntu. Sibanda excitedly described her experience with the group.
“My favorite part of going on tour is seeing different cities and learning about the different cultures within them,” Sibanda said.
Sibanda started her singing career as a background singer for local groups in Zimbabwe. She is now a singer and song writer, and joined Nobuntu when the group was founded. In 2016, Sibanda and Zanele Manhenga, another Nobuntu group member, started uMuz’Wentombi which means The House of Woman in Zimbabwean. The House of Woman is an arts and culture foundation that assembles women in their hometown of Bulawayo.
According to Jessica Cimini, Nobuntu’s artist service manager, this isn’t the first college community Nobuntu has performed for. JMU will be Nobuntu’s 12th university/college stop on the tour. JMU will also be its 16th performance on its American tour out of a total of 19. Nobuntu has performed for many crowds, and is expecting a warm welcome from JMU.
“Internationally, Nobuntu is slowly gaining fans and at home in Zimbabwe the fanbase is big in their hometown Bulawayo,” Dumisani said. “There is still lot of work to get more fans all over Zimbabwe,” Moyo went into more detail about their fanbase.
Nobuntu is expecting a nice welcome from JMU and JMU is expecting a great performance. “We still have seats for the November 16th performance and hope that many in the Valley will come and enjoy this magical female acappella quintet group,” Regan Byrne, executive director for the Forbes Center, said in an email.
Contact Mckenna Walsh at Walshmg@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.