Nobuntu

Nobuntu is a Zimbabwean a-cappella group of five talented, professional young women from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Their music repertoire is a fusion of traditional Zimbabwean sounds, mainly rooted in Gospel, Afro-Jazz and Crossover in pure voices with minimalistic percussion, traditional instruments such as Mbira and some dance movements. The group is a new generation of young women singers who celebrate and preserve their culture, beauty and heritage through art.

Background

Nobuntu was formed in 2011 upon realizing the non-existence of an all female imbube group in Bulawayo and Zimbabwe as a whole. The ensemble's mission is the belief that music is the most important and original wheel of change, way of expression of a new generation of young women singers with the uniqueness to transcend racial, tribal, religious, gender and economic boundaries. Nobuntu celebrates through their songs and dance the identities of being an African woman. Their voices, energy and their breathtaking performance on stage is an experience that communicates with the human side of anyone. The name "Nobuntu" is derived from an African concept which means "Mother of Humanity", that values Humility, Love, Purpose, Unity and Family, all from a woman's perspective.[1] Their defining acclamation has been breaking through what has historically been perceived as a male dominated genre. They are one of the few female imbube groups around the world. Their multilingual attitude to music has enabled them to capture the audience of many as they sing in Ndebele, Shona, Tonga and English languages that are popular locally regionally and internationally. Nobuntu is a group of women who started off singing in different groups and platforms in Bulawayo. Coming together was a masterstroke and making it work and monetising the craft is the plan.

Group Members

Currently, the group comprises of:

  • Thandeka Moyo (First tenor and Soprano)
  • Heather Dube (Tenor and Alto)
  • Joyline Sibanda (Baraton and Alto)
  • Zanele Manhenga (Soprano and Alto)
  • Duduzile Sibanda-Mothobe (Bass)

Songstress Thandy Dhlana and Patience Mpofu have temporarily replaced Nobuntu’s Heather Dube and Zanele Manhenga who are both pregnant. Nobuntu director, Dumisani Ramadu Moyo, said Dube and Manhenga will not be part of the five-member all-female acappella/Imbube group’s tour later in 2020 as they will be taking time off. As such, they have been replaced by Dlana and Mpofu, artistes who have established music and performance careers.

“Nobuntu and its parent company 10th District Music are delighted to announce that two of the group’s members, Zanele Manhenga and Heather Dube are expecting their bundles of joy later on this year. This means that the two mothers-to-be will not be joining the rest of the team on tour during the September-December (2020) season as they will be attending to their parental duties,” Moyo said in a statement. [2]

Their Work

Formed as a project of 10th District music led by Dumisani Ramadu Moyo, an imbube exponent with the platinum selling Insingizi, Nobuntu has grown in prowess to become one of the country’s leading artistic flag flyers. The release of their debut 11 track album in 2013 titled THINA immediately took them to their first international tour in Europe in November the same year were the group played in Concert venues and Festivals mainly in Germany and Austria.

The group had a tour of the United States in 2019. The five-member group, which left the country on 17 September 2019, is a rarity in a field largely dominated by male vocalists — the likes of the famous Grammy award-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Zimbabwean legends Black Umfolosi. In the third year running, the group is currently gracing famous venues and theatres across America, deviating from the path which local artists, aside from the late Oliver Mtukudzi, Mokoomba and Thomas Mapfumo, have trudged, playing to largely Zimbabweans in the diaspora.[3]

International Tours

In the last few seasons, the quintet has performed at festivals and concert halls in Europe (Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium, and the Czech Republic), America (the United States and Canada), Bermuda and throughout the African continent. The ensemble was a huge critical success at “Trans-Vocal” in Frankfurt and “Voice Mania” in Vienna. Their first tour to Canada, in 2016, included performances in Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Victoria. They also toured United States in September 2019.

Awards

  • Nominated for Best Musician of the Year at the Zimbabwe International Women Awards in London in 2015
  • Two-time winner for the Best Imbube Group at the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards 2017 and 2019.
  • February 2020 they won the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) for the Arts Personality of the Year

Social Responsibility

Nobuntu are not only musicians but are mothers, sisters, aunts and most importantly WOMEN hence they always strive to give back to the community they exist in. One of the significant ways they have done so is through their annual Pad-Bank concert, where they host a show to solicit for donations in the form of sanitary wear for the benefit of underprivileged girls and young women. They also host the Nobuntu Sisterhood Talks, a mentorship platform for young female artists. This program allows them to offer grooming and motivational talks for young female artists in an effort to turn their art into an income generating entity. It is evident that outside music and performing on stage, Nobuntu is a sisterhood, a support system for the members and the community at large. They have grown together and morphed into strong independent and bold women that they are today, and they would like that to transcend into their communities as well.

Costumes and Outfits

Their costumes are derived from Southern African Bantu cultures and identify with their roots. Zimbabwe being a culturally diverse nation, they want that to reflect through their attires on stage. In most tribes, these traditional outfits are mostly worn during cultural ceremonies. Each costume is conceptualised around distinct traditional wear, infused with modern elements. Their outfits vary from Xhosa, Ndebele, Venda, Swati, to Herero ethnicity, because most of each group’s cultural elements are found in Zimbabwe.

Discography

  • Thina (2013)
  • Ekhaya (2016)
  • Obabes beMbube (2018)

Picture Gallery

Nobuntu Music
Nobuntu on Stage

Administration Personnel

  • Group Manager - Dumisani Ramadu Moyo
  • Public Relations Manager - Keith Kiki Moyo

Contact Info

  • Website: http://www.nobuntu-music.com
  • Email: office@nobuntu-music.com
  • Booking Agent: contact@10th-district-music.com
  • Press Contact: +263 775 376 278 or Facebook/Nobuntu

References

  1. [1], Womex, Accessed: 27 April, 2020
  2. Bongani Ndlovu, [2], Chronicle, Published: 14 February, 2020, Accessed: 16 August, 2020
  3. Admire Kudita, [3], The Independent, Published: 7 October, 2019, Accessed: 27 April, 2020