Mbulelo Mpofu, Showbiz Reporter
ALL that Edith WeUtonga does is keep winning — her latest triumph is through the Zimbabwe Musicians Union (ZiMU), an organisation she founded.
And how has she won? ZiMU has partnered with the Musicians’ Union of Finland — Muusikkojenliitto.
WeUtonga, known for her hit song, Mukaranga told Saturday Leisure that her relocation to Britain is the reason doors are opening for her.
“Ever since I have been here, I have found myself working with organisations providing music as therapy. This has seen me go into contingent accommodation spaces, schools, care facilities and hospitals and hospitals running programmes. I am a project lead and have had the joy of meeting and working with a diverse community,” she said.
Her dance with Europe saw her founding ZiMU in 2014 to unite musicians and help them fight together the challenges they face in the music industry.
“After so many WhatsApp discussions and mourning about the anomalies in the music industry, a group of musicians decided to come together and unionise their problems towards long solutions and I was one of them. We regulated with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ), affiliated with the International Federation of Musicians (IFM) in France where we meet and interact with other unions globally,” said WeUtonga.
Recently she was in Finland where a twin agreement was put to paper.
“The trip to Finland was the beginning of great things for the Zimbabwe Musicians Union and the music sector as a whole. We spent the week in conversation and consultation on how our twinning agreement was going to work, what we can do to grow our union and corporate governance matters. Our biggest takeaway was knowing in FMU, we had found a mentor that would be there to support our initiatives, advise and hold our hand through it all. The FMU is 105 years old and ZIMU is eight, so we have much to learn,” said the multiple award winner.
Lately, the guitarist has kept her on-stage career alive by being in the “studio with some international acts” and “performing too here in the UK.”
The holder of a Master of Arts degree in Music in Development and a Bachelor of Science in Music Business, Musicology and Technology had her impressive CV further boosted in May this year after she was appointed vice-president of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), becoming the first black woman to hold the position.
Recently, WeUtonga has taken it upon herself to launch a Music in Development project to complement the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education efforts to teach pupils diverse musical instruments.
“The project is called Pamodzi-Issiyo (which means in Nyanja and Japanese, Together). This is a project I’m doing with my cohort from SOAS University of London Kayo Yoshida in a quest to support the Zimbabwe Visual and Performing Arts curriculum.
“We have been collecting pianica instruments from friends in Japan to distribute to music teachers in Zimbabwe, train them on how to use the instrument and teach it, and further donate more for their students. This is a way for me to give back and grow our musical journey and knowledge for our children in schools. The teachers are there, albeit few, but the instruments are at zero. So, I am gathering up support from my colleague in Japan and the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) to see this project through.” — @eMKlass_49