There may not be a group that travels as far for the Clark State Performing Arts Center’s 25th season as the five-part a cappella voice ensemble Nobuntu, all the way from Zimbabwe, Africa.
There also may not be a group with as wide a repertoire, armed with gospel, Afro jazz, crossover and traditional Zimbabwean songs, along with pure voices, authentic dance moves and minimalist percussion and traditional instruments.
Nobuntu, the name for an African concept that values humbleness, love, purpose, unity and family from a woman’s perspective, will celebrate its culture through its award-winning act at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12 at the Clark State Performing Arts Center.
The show is presented as part of the center’s 25th anniversary season.
Performing Arts Center executive director Adele Adkins has tried to book Nobuntu for three years. Given the group only performs in the U.S. for three weeks a year, it allows for something different with an international feel rarely found on stages here.
While still rehearsing in Zimbabwe, the members of Nobuntu – Zanele Manhenga, Thandeka Moyo, Duduzile Sibanda, Heather Dube and Joyline Sibanda – collectively answered questions about the upcoming tour and Springfield show.
About the current tour and what it means for the group to tour the United States:
“We are really looking forward to this tour. We have been preparing for it the whole year. The fact that we are also going to different places from last year makes it even more interesting because we enjoy traveling. We are humbled by this opportunity because other artists also wish to be in our shoes. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
About the group’s identity and where it fits into entertainment:
“Nobuntu is an African a cappella group and the type of a cappella that we do is called Imbube. We are the first successful female Imbube group and as such we are very unique and new. We share mostly our culture and tradition through song and dance which is very interesting and entertaining.”
About the role of being strong women in a time when women’s roles are being redefined:
“As the first successful Imbube female group in southern Zimbabwe, we have already made a very bold move. The courage and strength that we have has made us come this far and we have managed to inspire other female artists in our community. We also work tirelessly to fend for our families and take care of ourselves.”
Is there a difference between touring the U.S. opposed to other areas of the world, and if so what does it mean to the members?
“There is a huge difference because of the different cultures and traditions. We get to experience different cultures which can be a challenge sometimes, but we always manage to adapt and work with different people in those areas.”
HOW TO GO
Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, Kuss Auditorium, 300 S. Fountain Ave., Springfield
When: Friday, Oct. 12, 8 p.m.
Admission: $30 and $40 (plus ticket and facility fees)
More info: 937-328-3874 or go to pac.clarkstate.edu/events/calendar/nobuntu/
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