Using music as a window into Africa

Cultural Insights — By on August 16, 2006 at 9:44 am

The Boston Globe yesterday ran an article about a man named Solomon Murungu, who teaches Americans about Zimbabwean and African culture partly by utilizing the mbira, “a musical instrument of the Shona people in his home country.”  His presentations have been so popular that he formed an organization called Zambuko Projects Unlimited to serve as an umbrella for his educational programs.

In Murungu’s mind, Zambuko can help break the barriers and show how many things the American and African cultures have in common. He calls his organization Zambuko because the word means “bridge” in the Shona language.

“My own experience with people [in the US is] they were very American-centric,” says Murungu. “No experience with the outside world. I felt that by exposing them to another culture, being able to appreciate another culture, they’ll be more likely to open up not just to me but to other Africans and other non-Americans.”

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