A Zimbabwean Film Nominated for An Oscar!!

A film about a Zimbabwean band has made it onto this year’s Oscar nomination list, in the ‘Best Documentary Short Subject’ category. ‘Music by Prudence’ tells the story of Prudence Mabhena, the lead singer of Bulawayo band Liyana. Zimbabwean singer songwriter Prudence Mabhena, age twenty-one, was born severely disabled into a society wheredisabilities carry the taint of witchcraft; she is more likely to spend her life hidden away in a tiny hut than on a stage in the center of a city. Her story is the story of many of the disabled kids of Africa, a story of abandonment and abuse. But Prudence and her seven young band members, all disabled, have managed to overcome stereotypes and inspire the same people that once saw them as a curse. Click here to become a fan of the film on facebook

These are all the incredible Liyana band members:

Prudence Mabhena is Liyana’s lead singer. She also composes in a wide range of styles and many topics. While challenges with Arthrogryphosis have placed her in a wheel chair, she is an independent, assertive woman, whose voice has been likened to the great South African liberation singer, Miriam Makeba.

Tapiwa Nyengera sings back-up, plays keyboard, and is the front man. He is a passionate and eloquent voice for the contribution the disabled can make to Africa and the world. He has spina bifida.

Energy Maburutse is first marimba player and back-up vocalist and the band’s resident jokester. He has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, brittle bone syndrome.

Honest Mupatse plays tenor marimba. He has hemophilia.

Marvelous Mbulo is a back-up singer and has muscular dystrophy.

Vusani Vuma, the bass marimba player, is hearing-impaired and has spent much of his life in silence.

Goodwell Nzou, plays traditional drums and percussion and sings back-up. A snake bit him when he was 11, requiring amputation of his leg.

Farai Mabhande, lead keyboardist, is an orphan from Bulawayo, who suffers from arthogryphisis.

Liyana (the name means ‘it’s raining’ in Ndebele) grew out of an arts project at King George VI, a school and centre for children with physical disabilities, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

One of the amazing success stories the school has achieved is its band, Liyana. This year the group of eight students, five in wheelchairs, two on crutches and one deaf, took second prize in an all Africa music competition. They were the only group in the competition who were disabled. The amazing thing about this band is its ability to get the audience to forget the disability and see only the entertainment. In 2006 Liyana toured Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands as their prize for the competition and in 2009 they spent a month in America wowing and inspiring audiences in California and New York (KGVI website).

Mungwadzi Godwin

twitterinstagramI like sharing positive stories about Zimbabweans at home and abroad. I also write articles on Personal Finance, Fashion, Music, and Tech. Let's connect!

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