Kunzwana & Tonga.Online projects to live on

A mission report by Peter Kuthan / Austria Zimbabwe Friendship Association, AZFA

Having just concluded a journey to Harare, Bulawayo, Binga and Johannesburg, which was encompassing numerous talks with partners and stakeholders and a project visit including a review and planning workshop, I am glad to report that a major break trough has been achieved: jointly we have found a way forward to salvage both, Kunzwana and Tonga.Online projects.

Last year, after the sudden pull-out from Zimbabwe of our Austrian partner and project holder Horizont3000, the Tonga.Online project was hit by a severe financial crisis with project staff going without salaries for months.

Despite these unfavorable circumstances we have managed to bring the combined Simonga-Maliko Ngoma Buntibe ensemble to attend Parade at Linz09 European Capital of Culture in May last year. After this climax of our cultural exchange between Austria and Zimbabwe with Kunzwana Trust and Austria Zimbabwe Friendship Association partnering since 1993, Kunzwana's director, composer and cultural promoter Keith Goddard passed on in October 2009. This brought both, Kunzwana Trust and Tonga.Online project to teeter on the brink of collapse.

The obituaries for Keith from all over the world have been showing wide recognition for his work and in particular for his impact on the promotion of indigenous music in Zimbabwe. At the same time a project review of Tonga.Online by HIVOS on site has proved again its high relevance for the Tonga community. Both accounts have helped to turn the crisis of Kunzwana and Tonga.Online into a new beginning. With so many friends, partners and stakeholders agreeing that its salvage is urgent, a drive for a new set up has been bearing fruits. Therefore the important work and legacy of Keith Goddard will be carried forward in both areas, the cultural promotion and in ICT for development, which are closely linked anyway.

For Kunzwana it was resolved (with Penny Yon and Paul Brickhill of Pamberi Trust) that the Kunzwana Trust will eventually fold but its core activities will continue as a special project under the umbrella of Pamberi Trust, which follows a similar approach and lines of thinking.

Kunzwana is a non-profit-making organisation which fosters the practice and study of indigenous musics in Zimbabwe through the promotion of the work of performing artists and instrument makers for fair reward and the development of music research projects for educational purposes. The aim of Kunzwana is to encourage the highest artists standards in Zimbabwean music and to provide artists and instrument makers with fair reward for the work they do. Kunzwana began informally in 1987 with research projects, workshops on Zimbabwean music for children and teachers and tours for musicians. It was formalised as a Trust in February 1991. There have been four trustees involved so far: the late Keith Goddard, Fiona Lloyd, the late Phillip Marira and Debbie Metcalfe. Penny Yon has been co-opt as signatory. The name Kunzwana comes from the Shona word nzw(an)a which means listening, hearing and understanding one another. http://www.servus.at/argezim/kunzwana.htm

“Pamberi Trust’s mission is to enable performing, literary and visual artists to fulfil their potential and have a mainstream role in the development of the nation. Cognisant of the economic potential of arts industries to generate income through artistic endeavor; and of the need to create free, diverse means of cultural expression; Pamberi Trust exists solely as an enabling facility, by which performing artists, fine artists and producers of literary culture, including the most marginalised, may develop and find the means to promote and perform their works, and participate in building the nation”.


For Tonga.Online it was resolved with Kunzwana, Basilwizi board and its director Frank Mudimba, with HIVOS and the Tonga.Online team that the project will fully merger into Basilwizi Trust within three month.

“Basilwizi is a non-profit advocacy and community development organisation formed in 2000 in response to the expressed needs of the Tonga and Korekore people. Basilwizi is committed to the social and economic development of the displaced peoples of the Zambezi Valley communities in Zimbabwe, working towards empowering communities through advocacy and building skills for self-sustenance”.


All parties acknowledged the strategic fit that exists between the objectives of Tonga.Online and Basilwizi Trust. Tonga.Online will be integrated as a special project facilitating the usage of modern ICT to promote education, cultural heritage, local governance and community empowerment with a sectoral approach but also as a crosscutting and human rights issue.

The review and planning workshop held in Binga identified the way forward and has come up with an action plan for 2010 which is already taking advantage of synergies, i.e. in advocacy and HIV/AIDS awareness campaigning or regarding the joint usage of resources like project cars.

The next steps will be to establish a Public Access Point at Binga Library and a wireless network of telecenters and stakeholders as a pilot project in Binga town, furthermore to provide Sinazongwe Information Technology Center ITC and radio station with assistance across the waters on the Zambian side. In a meeting with Rotary Club Belmont in Bulawayo there has been consensus achieved about the way forward to assist Siabuwa Highschool in the set up of a solar powered ITC. Tonga.Online will provide for an implementation plan and assist in the facilitation of an urgent site visit to improve face to face communication and strengthen community ownership.

A major joint endeavour of Kunzwana / Pamberi Trust, Basilwizi Trust, HIVOS and AZFA will be to continue with the promotion of Tonga Culture – as core of Keith' legacy of cultural promotion and exchange at local, regional and international platforms like festivals and fares.

Further exposure of Tonga music and cultural heritage is envisaged in collaboration with the regional network African Synergy, a multi-disciplinary arts centre and cultural hub based at Bassline in Johannesburg. African Synergy is a sister of Pamberi Trust and Book Cafe in Harare. www.africansynergy.net

The Austrian Development Agency ADA and the Austrian embassy in Harare have already pledged further financial support for Tonga.Online and for this ongoing cultural exchange.

Peter Kuthan, Linz, 25th February 2010

See Photos documenting this visit.

Read the report from Josiah Moyo, who attended the Binga workshop representing Sinazongwe Radio and ITC:


When the year clocks towards the end many things come out, most children will reflect on what happened on the previous Christmas and how they hope to celebrate it, and how their wish to begin the New Year. Parents will have tasks to explain, plan and budget to meet the children’s expectations. The end of the year, CEOs have same task at their institutions, for them its the end of the year report, planning, budgeting, sourcing funds, or the way forward. On 27th January 2010 at Binga Rest Camp, Tonga Online held a Review and Planning Workshop. Several stake holders from the government of Zimbabwe more specifically from Ministry of Education and Head teachers of the Binga surrounding Schools attended the workshop. Sinazongwe was also among the participants represented by Mr. Louis Manje of Maliko and Moyo Josiah of Radio Sinazongwe who also represented the ITC.

Last year, there were achievements for the Tonga.Online project, projected activities were met, though with many challenges. Some remarkable success achieved were: conducting training workshops, awareness raising workshops, improving number of working computers and printers, cultural exchange visits of Valley Tonga to share music and dance across the lake (to Sinazongwe) recording and archiving of Tonga music and a cultural exchange visit in May to Austria. With these achievements in Binga district, it has been possible by the Zimbabwean Government to launch a Tonga language text book for primary school to be taught.

Despite these achievements, the Binga district faced a lot of problems experienced by the country’s unprecedented difficulties in shrinking economy. This led to the currency financial services collapsing, health care and education collapsing, unemployment levels shooting up, communication infrastructure collapsing and in March – September 2008 the Zimbabwean government banned all NGO activities and the Tonga Online project had to close during this period. project staff went without salaries for months in 2009.  These working conditions led to the sudden relocating of the project holder Horizont3000 to Mosambik, which meant the pulling out from partnership with Kunzwana Trust. The project was at blink.

Before recovering from the above stated environment, another set back hit the project. Kunzwana's director, composer and cultural promoter Keith Goddard passed on in October 2009. This brought both, Kunzwana Trust and Tonga. Online project to a verge of collapse.

A wide recognition of Keith Goddard’s work in music and cultural promotion of indigenous music in Zimbabwe by friends, partners and stake holders has proved to carry the legacy of Keith Goddard. The revelation of a merger of Tonga.Online with Basilwizi during the review meeting is one example of carrying further the legacy of Keith Goddard.

“Basilwizi is a non-profit advocacy and community development organization formed in 2000 in response to the expressed needs of the Tonga and Korekore people. Basilwizi is committed to the social and economic development of the displaced peoples of the Zambezi Valley communities in Zimbabwe, working towards empowering communities through advocacy and building skills for self-sustenance”.

The merger was backed by the Basilwizi Board and revealed by director Frank Mudimba at the planning meeting held at Binga, Rest Camp. The revelation injected life to the participants. This encouraged the head teachers to contribute effectively as they could see life at the end of the tunnel. Issues of schools with computers still in boxes because of none availability of electricity were swallowed by the injection of life to the project. This meant that no matter what, one day either electricity by grid or or solar power will be installed at the schools by Tonga Online and its partners. Because of the merger, it was agreed that the 2010 action plan adopt advocacy and HIV/AIDS awareness campaign and be included for implementation. Sinazongwe was not left out. It was signalled that, Sinazongwe Radio station and ITC will need to get assistance from this outcome.

A brief review of the Linz09 tour was shared during the review meeting, giving a view of the parade and the expectations of the entourage and the views of the Austrian people towards the Budima culture. After the meeting, the participants had a chance to see photos of the Linz parade and Mr.Louis Manje explained the Linz photos to participants.

A moment of silence was observed in honor of the late Keith Goddard. This was done at a video show which started after dinner. The participants braved to watch a 73 minutes video play.  This DVD film is a compacted documentary of all the three days parade of which I urge everybody to take time to watch it.  You will be thrilled to watch it over and over again, analyzing the performance, how people interacted and united not with language but with rhythm. 

If you watch this DVD, yes you will strongly agree with inserts on the inside of the CD cover saying “I saw many happy and satisfied faces. People were interested and enjoyed it” by Balthasar Streiff/Hornroh. Michael Pilz actually summarized this video he said; “The beauty of this video is the confluent of different sound worlds and perspectives into one stream of positive energy in motion and in music. Its different approaches and qualities of filming are not defiance but on the contrary, they do reflect and underline the true character of parade as an adventure. What the video documentary reveals is that actually different parades were set up in one which moved sometimes parallel and some times even in the opposite direction in a cheerful, hilarious and pervasive way.”

Part of this DVD is a special tribute to Keith Goddard which lasts for four minutes. His dream come true, he slept a happy man. His expectations and desire were met. I quote his words. “I was more than I could have dreamed of. Their were moments of quite and others where musicians met, collided and passed each other. There were smiles on people’s faces; their were with musicians, surrounded by them, unseparated from them”. After a few months of saying these words, he passed on.  Can we say, he was waiting for the parade to take place?

What next!? We thank the partners for carrying on with his legacy.