Black Umfolosi – Celebrating # 41 !

Source: Black Umfolosi – Celebrating # 41 !

This year the home-grown world-famous Imbube group BLACK UMFOLOSI celebrates 41 years of a  dazzling career with a royal 5-star feast of music and dance at the Bulawayo Theatre on 3 November, uniting hearts and transcending barriers with their fascinating artistry.

Sotsha Moyo in action

 

A cultural beacon for over 40 wonderful years, Black Umfolosi has, over all the years and still now,  been more than simply music and the art of performance; it is about commemorating a shared heritage. For all those who have feasted on their music, and especially for those who have yet to,  it’s a fine opportunity to pay tribute to their legacy in magnificent style with a cultural journey packed with joy and life, music that speaks to the soul, that tells unseen stories, and celebrates the colourful culture that binds us all.

Sotsha Moyo, now leading Black Umfolosi , describes Imbube as “a vital thread in the tapestry of our  Black culture which stands as a testament to our innate creativity. It’s the raw, acapella expression  of our souls, a reminder that music flows naturally within us. … Together, we create a harmonious  symphony of unity and resilience. Thank you for standing with us, for celebrating our shared  heritage, and for embracing the soul-stirring magic of Mbube.”

FOUR DECADES AGO, a group of schoolboys started out singing together for their own entertainment, in the wonderful Imbube culture of great Ndebele singers. Their strong and joyful vocals, perfect harmonies, and authentic and exciting dance traditions soon put them on an upward trajectory which, through hard work, incessant practice, discipline and good management, has taken them from humble beginnings in townships of Bulawayo ‘ The City of Kings’ in south-western  Zimbabwe, to an award-winning group winning acclaim on stages all over the world.

Together they toured extensively nationwide and internationally; with multiple tours to several countries in Europe and Asia; and to the USA, Canada and Australia. In these travels they represented  Zimbabwe at prestigious events such as the Universal Expo, in Spain in 1992, Universal Expo, in Portugal  in 1998 and the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, where they were honoured with a personal meeting and congratulations by the late Queen Elizabeth II, and other dignitaries.

One of their major drivers over the years, strengthened by the respect Black Umfolosi has gained around the world, was the awareness of the value of their art, and the need to preserve and promote the art of Imbube in the face of ever-changing times and the dangers of dilution of their precious legacy by other African and western influences from near and far. Through the years they have maintained a high profile for Imbube: proud yet humble, strong yet gentle – serious fun!

Sotsha Moyo is the only remaining member of the original founders; with some members leaving the country over time, and some sadly leaving this world, the group has gone through some changes, always working, always teaching, delighting audiences and passing the baton of Imbube to younger artists to continue.

Altogether Black Umfolosii recorded 14 albums between 1990 and 2023, and Sotsha himself has recorded 8 solo offerings. Marking their place in history, Black Umfolosi’s 1980 composition ‘Happy  Birthday to You Zimbabwe’ when the country attained Independence earned them a highly publicised performance at the signing event for the famous 1987 Unity Accord, where they followed up with ‘Unity’. The song struck the right chords and a standing ovation from the auditorium, and shot to stardom, immediately becoming a soundtrack of the annual Unity Day celebrations. aired on  rotation on national radio and television.

In the last decade, their music has won 6 awards in Zimbabwe for Best Acapella, Lifetime Achievement, Cultural Ambassadors, and recognition and appreciation from a local arts foundation and a community in Wales, UK.

The Black Umfolosi Performing Arts Project is registered as a company, and also with the  Zimbabwe Ministry of Education, Sport, Art and Culture, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, and affiliated with various associations including the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association.

In 2023 Black Umfolosi Productions (Pvt) Ltd was established, with Austin Chisare, Sotsha Moyo,  Boitumelo Phuti, and Luzibo Tabona Moyo as directors, a highly professional company reaching out to the world – and producing this 3 November – unforgettable experience for the City of Kings to be proud of.

Prior to the big celebration, Black Umfolosi will be giving a star performance at the upcoming  Nyanga Arts Festival 2023, which takes place in the beautiful Eastern Highlands town on 27- 28 October.

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