Empowering Women Through Music
And when the sisters find their place they do not waste time and simply shine like a constellation of stars.
A unique musical festival, Ladies in Jazz, brought together 11 women musicians at the weekend, over three consecutive days, in Harare beginning last Friday to celebrate female talent in music.
Rarely do music promoters dedicate resources to uplift women musicians, perhaps due to gender stereotypes.
When the festival opened on Friday night literally the whole of Harare descended onto the venue at a restaurant, Jazz 105, to support the gig.
As a true gesture of sisters supporting sisters a random head count by this Radio VOP reporter revealed that women even outnumbered men amongst the fans.
While the festival was named as a jazz fiesta it in fact featured music across the genres and the line-up of musicians represented some of the best women musicians in Zimbabwe today including Dudu Manhenga, Selmar Mtukudzi, Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave, Edith weUtonga, Clare Nyakujara, Rute Mbangwa, Sister Kessia and Jean Masters attended throughout the three days of the festival.
Nearly all the performances were flawless and the musicians did not only showcase amazing song writing and singing talent but showed off fashionable High Street apparel, radiant make-up and hot hair styles too.
“This is our time to shine. Yes, sisters can shine and will shine forever,” Clare said as she strutted her stuff across the dance floor in stiletto heels and tight jeans. “Our music as women is developing daily and we are getting there as female artists. It’s not easy but we will triumph.”
The festival is not only being revered for its entertainment value but is being seen as a noble goal of gender equality.
Jessie Majome, a lawmaker and deputy minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, commented on the festival in a letter published in Daily News on Saturday.
Majome said: “Showcasing women’s talents promotes the social and economic empowerment through the music industry. The publicity that you (the media) are affording this sector also helps to break down gender stereotypes of the usual portrayal of women as hapless victims of hardships. Music is a powerful vehicle for communicating social messages for women’s well being, positive roles for achievement and protection from violence.”
Festival organiser Josh Hozheri told Radio VOP he would seek corporate support and make the event an annual gala.
“We have started with Harare and in future the idea is to get women musicians from other cities and grow the festival and make it national,” said Hozheri.