Legendary traditional musician Lantozi “Madosini” Mpahleni says she feels grateful to have been given the opportunity to teach young people the importance of learning and playing traditional instruments, as well as how to create them.
Under the banner of the Madosini Indigenous Music Legacy project, in partnership with the Calabash story-telling organisation, Ms Mpahleni has been conducting three-hour musical workshops at Look Out Hill, every Saturday, teaching young people how to play umrhube and uhandi, as well as about the historical background of the instruments.
With the training coming to an end next week, Ms Mpahleni said she hoped to continue with the project in the future.
A group of 30 young people had been participating in the training, and are now calling on the government to continue supporting the project.
The participants have vowed to share the knowledge gained from the project with their peers.
Reflecting on the programme, Ms Mpahleni said it has been a journey filled with mixed emotions. Before the programme started she had sleepless nights, worrying that the youth might not attend or lose interest.
However, she was over the moon with joy when the youth showed interest.
“I will now die in peace knowing that I have passed the knowledge to the young generation with the hope that they will preserve the knowledge they have gained through this project.
“The project was started in October but I think we need more time because it requires quite lot of time to finally master playing these instruments,” she said.
Ms Mpahleni said teaching the youth to play the instruments had been a mammoth task because all of them had never played it before.
She started teaching them the basics such as how to position the instruments and how to handle them.
She believes that this is the time when parents and grandparents need to teach the youth about their culture and cultural instruments because the reality is that Western cultures have invaded their space and are actually demeaning their culture.
The 73-year-old expressed her sincere appreciation to director of Calabash Story Telling organisation and well known television actress, Andrea Dondolo, for initiating the project and making a great effort to ensure that it became a reality.
Ms Dondolo told Vukani that she was contacted by Ms Mpahleni about her dream of teaching the youth.
She said she vowed to pull out all the stops to ensure the project would be implemented and even though it had been a tough journey, she was excited that she eventually managed to convince the Department of Arts and Culture to provide funding.
She said she was battling to find the right words to describe the impact of the programme and she hopes that it would continue to run because they could see that the children are still hungry for such an initiative.
“It warms my heart to see the youngest of them all so zealous about this programme.
“I also feel teary that this dream of Ms Mpahleni has been turned into a reality and I have managed to ensure that she is included on the list of the living legends because she is indeed a living legend,” she said.
Lima Zepe, 10, who is doing Grade 6, said he was grateful to be part of this programme and he urged sponsors to fund such initiatives.
He said he sees himself in the future teaching young people about these instruments and travelling the world playing them.