"For the Tonga people like me, there is something deeply biblical about the word MULONGA, yet it is a modern story too. One of massive but unshared technology. One of plentiful water but perpetual drought."
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mulonga.net >> Cultural Exchange >> Parade Linz09 >> First Simonga & Maliko rehearsals for Parade @ Linz09 done
First Simonga & Maliko rehearsals for Parade @ Linz09 done
Monday, 13 October 2008 14:27
Report on the Trip to Zambia from 24th September - 2nd October 2008
compiled by Sengamo Ndlovu

Background

Linz, an Austrian City, will be the European Capital of Culture for the year 2009. This means that the whole of Europe, for the whole of 2009 will be focusing on Linz for cultural activities and artistic displays from all over the world.

This was seen as an opportunity to expose the Tonga Culture, and what  better way than to have one Ngoma Buntibe group representing the BaTonga from both sides of the Lake: symbolising the oneness in culture, though separated by International borders and huge waters.


The Trip

Twenty members of Simonga travelled to Zambia accompanied by Sengamo Ndlovu together with Modern Chimwanda, a studio trainee. Three boats were used to cross on the 24th of September,2008. Due to time and communication constraints, the party put up overnight along the shore and proceeded to Sinazongwe the following day.

On the 2nd of October, 2008 the party departed Sinazongwe and crossed to Binga, Simonga put up at Tusimpe camp and proceeded to Siachilaba on the 3rd of October, 2008.

Rehearsals

These were conducted in the morning and evenings daily from the 26th of October to the 1st of  October, 2008 when only the Morning session was held. There was a total of 6 (six) practice days. The afternoons were generally too hot for any practice.

Compatibility of Nyele (instrument made of antilope horns)

The combining of nyele from Zimbabwe and Zambia was done without any problems.


The following was observed:-
1.The nyele from Zambia and Zimbabwe with the same names do not sound the same in terms of pitch.
2.The Zambian nyele set is generally lower in pitch compared to the Zimbabwean set and the Zambian set does not have the high pitched (small) nyele. (There are almost no wild animals left from which to get horns for making nyele in Zambia).
3.It is possible to use a combination of the Zimbabwean and Zambian nyele together by listening to the sound and not by using the prescribed name for the nyele.

Selection of the Team

The final selection for both sides was done.

There were some initial challenges with the Zambian team that was initially composed of mostly very old people. This was corrected and a lady who blows the nyele also had to be called in.

Meeting with the selected Team

A meeting was held with the selected team to give further details on the trip as well as to clarify that payment for passports would be done for them.

Discussions about the next practice / rehearsals were also held and the following issues come up:-

1.The rainy season would not be good for outdoor camping hence the need to adjust and have the second practice in late December or early January. This would make it possible to camp at Binga High School before the opening of schools. This would also help to consolidate the learning done during the first practice.

2.Better (and safer) means of crossing the lake to be explored, preferably with engines instead of rowing.

3.In the spirit of team building, food will be served from one common point, as opposed to the grouping into Zimbabwean and Zambian camps cooking for themselves.