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Author Topic: Congratulations to Oscar winner Prudence Mabhena of Liyana  (Read 2751 times)
Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« on: March 08 2010 »

The mini documentary "Music by Prudence" http://www.musicbyprudence.com just won an Oscar!!
 
Music by Prudence traces the path of Prudence Mabhena, and her remarkable transcendence from a world of hatred and superstition into one of music, love, and possibility. She is the lead singer of Liyana, a marimba ensemble made up entirely of people with disabilities.
 
Prudence lives in Zimbabwe, and for a long time almost no one knew about that hauntingly beautiful voice. No one knew the strong, resilient woman that owned it. They were unable to overlook her body: crippled and deformed with a debilitating condition called arthrogryposis.
 
When Prudence was born, her paternal grandmother wanted her dead. In Zimbabwe, disabled children are believed to be the result of witchcraft. In extreme cases, families kill them to remove the "curse" from their family.  Prudence's mother kept her and fed her. Cast out of her husband's (Prudence's father's) home, she brought the baby to her own mother's rural home. Four years later, she left.
 
Prudence was raised by Rachel Ncube, her maternal grandmother. Grandmother Ncube taught her to sing. A working farmer, she would strap the little girl to her back as she worked the fields. But when Prudence turned 7, she knew she couldn't school her. So she sent her to live with her father and his new family.  There, Prudence fell prey to neglect and isolation. Her stepmother refused to touch her, and called her a worthless, helpless "ant." For two years, Prudence lived like an animal--crawling on the floor and sleeping in her own urine, and worse. Every day, she dragged herself to a mango tree in the backyard, and told herself that her nightmare will end someday. She was despondent enough to attempt suicide--twice.

And tonight, Prudence was on the red carpet in Hollywood!!!
 
You can see Prudence and Liyana in here when they performed at Columbia University last year: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/oscp/liyana.htm

Peter Masundire

source: http://dandemutande.org
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