Zimfest News Blog

Posts by Claire Jones

Online Singing Workshop with Moyo and Jennifer

We are posting this on behalf of Jennifer and Moyo.

Online singing workshop: Todzungaira
Date: Sunday, June 16
Time: 6:00-7:30 EDT / 3:00-4:30 PDT
Cost: By donation (suggested donation on a sliding scale of $15-$40)

Join Moyo Mutamba and Jennifer Kyker for an online singing workshop featuring a soulful set of call-and-response lyrics to the beloved Zimbabwe marimba and mbira song known as Todzungaira. All funds raised from the workshop will support the work of two non-profit organizations: Ubuntu Learning Village (founded by Moyo) and Tariro: Hope and Health for Zimbabwe’s Orphans (founded by Jennifer). 

The specific lyrics that Moyo and Jennifer will co-teach during this workshop are frequently sung in community at Ubuntu Learning Village. They were also part of Tariro’s winning rendition of Todzungaira at the 2023 National Institute of Allied Arts school music competition!

This workshop will include an online Zoom session, audio and video recordings, and a lyrics sheet. The Zoom session will be recorded and shared with all participants, making it possible to enroll in the workshop even if you cannot attend the Zoom session in person.

Registration is easy!

  1. Email Jennifer at: jennifer(dot)kyker{at}gmail(dot)com
  2. Send your donation via PayPal using Jennifer’s phone number: 541-729-2972 or her direct PayPal handle: @jenniferkyker1828

To learn more about the work of Ubuntu Learning Village and Tariro, and/or make an online donation, please visit the organizations’ websites:

Please feel free to share news about this workshop with your friends, band members, students, and anyone else who may be interested in attending! 

Best wishes,

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Call for ZA Volunteers

Greetings Zimfest community!
Despite our long silence, members of the Zimfest Association Board want you to know we are busy making plans for the next couple of years and working on various projects. We need your help, even (especially!) if we will not be producing an in-person festival in 2024.  Can you:

  • Edit Zimfest video and audio recordings and post to social media?
  • Research funding sources and/or write grant applications on behalf of ZA?
  • Help out with the Zimfest website?

Check out the Why and How to Volunteer webpage for a list of needed and hoped-for volunteer tasks. Fill out the Volunteer Contact form on the bottom of the page to indicate your skills, interest and availability.

The Support Zimfest page has been updated with new ways to support ZA, including online shopping with goodshop.com and igive.com.

We are working on updating the Virtual Marketplace in time for the holiday shopping season. If you know of anyone selling Zimbabwean crafts who might like to listed on this page, please let us know at marketplace{at}zimfest{dot}org.

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend!
Claire Jones and the Zimfest Board


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Zimfest Updates and 2024 Announcement

Greetings Zimfest community,

The Zimfest Board and I want to communicate with you all before too much time passes about plans for next year. We have, regretfully, decided not to try to produce an in-person festival in 2024. The reasons are many: you may recall that we had planned to hold Zimfest 2020 at The Evergreen State College in Olympia WA when the COVID pandemic hit. We also had hopes of going there in subsequent years, but their Conference Services informed us last year that they can no longer accommodate a group of our size during the summer. Due to the lack of planning for alternate sites, we have been in the position of hastily arranging in-person festivals at venues that are new to this Organizing Committee both in 2022 (Skagit Valley Fairgrounds in Mt. Vernon, WA) and this year (OSU in Corvallis, OR). Organizing for a new site (housing and dining details, registration, facilities, contractual obligations, etc.) is extremely time-consuming and a drain on the resources of the OC. There is currently no site (university or otherwise) lined up for next year. Rather than scrambling to arrange for a venue, we have decided to step back and take a break for 2024. The core of the current hard-working OC has been together for several years now and needs a rest; the ZA Board, with the support of the community, needs to apply its energy towards long-range planning for the future. We hope to work on a five-year plan in which all possibilities are on the table: moving to a festival every other year, alternating between agreed-upon sites in Oregon and Washington, etc.

Other comments:

  • Minutes for the Village Meeting will be posted very soon, for those were unable to attend. The decision to pause the festival in 2024 was made at the Sept. 10 board meeting, minutes of which will also be posted soon. While there will be no in-person festival, online and/or local activities may be considered.
  • As always, it takes (more than!) a village to produce Zimfest, and that includes our village hosts! Thank Yous for those who contributed to the 2023 festival have been posted here.
  • We appreciate your taking time to fill out the post-festival survey, and several members of the OC and board have gone through the responses. There are a number of useful suggestions which we hope to take up in the coming months. There are also some comments on issues that we had no control over. For example, more than one person complained about having to pay for a triple room that they didn’t need:
    • OSU Housing and Dining proved awkward for Zimfest to work with as most of their summer conference groups are youth camps. We were not notified of the distribution of rooms in our assigned dorm (McNary Hall) until just before we opened the registration system. At that point we were unhappy and frustrated to learn that most of the rooms were so-called “economy” triples, with elevated beds that our mostly-adult participants do not care for. We would need to contract for different dorms with more single rooms if Zimfest were to return to OSU.
    • Some survey respondents who were not renting rooms in the dorms had complaints about not being allowed access to McNary during concerts. All activities in and access to the dorms must be approved by the OSU Office of Youth Safety & Compliance. As access to the dorm stairwells and elevators (as well as outside doors) are controlled electronically, we had to negotiate to allow non-dorm residents access to the upstairs lounges while Zimfest workshops were taking place. The Youth Safety people were not happy about letting non-dorm residents into McNary, but allowed it for Zimfest 2023 workshops.
  • On a more positive note, most Zimfest participants and performers loved having all concerts outside on one stage. We took the opportunity to make all evening concerts by donation so that all Zimbabweans could perform during evening concerts without worries about visa restrictions, and were happy to see the supportiveness of concert attendees in paying the requested donations. There was a request, however, to move the mostly-Zimbabwean concert to Friday or Saturday so that more Americans (many of whom leave on Sunday) could enjoy it. We want you to know that few of the American bands were available to perform on Sunday—that is why we had more Zimbabweans performing then!

Thanks for reading, you will be hearing more from us soon!
Claire Jones, Zimfest Coordinator

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Post-Festival Glow and Refunds

Dear Zimfest community,

The OC is recovering their sleep and energy, and basking in the afterglow of the big family reunion that was Zimfest 2023. We have just started hearing from our OSU hosts and payees as well as Zimfest participants.

  • If you have not yet completed the Post-Festival Survey, please do so here. We want to hear from you whether or not you attended Zimfest 2023. 
  • You have until August 25th to apply for a workshop refund if you have credit due for a workshop that was cancelled, or if you chose to drop a workshop that was changed by Zimfest. You may mail the Refund Request Form that was available at onsite Registration, or write to registration[at]zimfest[dot]org to make your request. Please see the Workshop Cancellation Policy on the About Workshops page for a full explanation of policies concerning cancellation of workshops. Concert tickets, paid on a donation basis, were not refundable unless you had to cancel your Zimfest participation due to an emergency. 
  • Just breaking – Comments from OSU Landscaping: Please let the group that organized this know that they were a pleasure to work with and that we were happy to see that area come to life with people and music. It was a really cool event.

Festival Coordinator Claire Jones



Music Dancing Across Borders

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In Memory of Martha Thom Mafuleni

By Dana Moffett. Posted by Claire Jones on behalf of the Organizing Committee and ZA Board.

Dear Friends of the Mafuleni Family,

I hope this email finds you in good health and spirits. Today, I write to you with a heavy heart, as our dear friend Jacob Mafuleni is going through an unimaginable tragedy. As you may have heard, Jacob has lost three family members, including his beloved wife Martha Thom Mafuleni, in a tragic road accident in Zimbabwe, leaving him devastated and in desperate need of our support.

This tragedy has not only taken away his mother Gogo Mafuleni, his brother Zondiwa Mafuleni, but also a remarkable woman who was the heart and soul of their family and community. Jacob’s sister-in-law, sister, and niece are hospitalized. Our community has fully supported school fees and family support for their children Abel, Jacob Jr, Byron, and Tinotenda. This is another way to help out our beloved family during this devastating time.

Martha, Jacob’s wife, was an exceptional dancer, a dedicated teacher, and an invaluable pillar of the music and dance community both in Zimbabwe and here in the United States. Her passion for dance was contagious, and she touched the lives of countless students, inspiring them to embrace the art form and pursue their dreams. Through her teaching, Martha nurtured a new generation of talented dancers, leaving a lasting impact on her Dzivarasekwa community’s cultural landscape.

Beyond her role as a dance teacher, Martha was a beacon of strength and compassion. She always lent a helping hand to those in need and radiated warmth that made everyone feel welcomed and cared for. Her contributions to the community went far beyond the dance floor and performance stage, as she selflessly dedicated herself to various charitable initiatives and events, enriching the lives of those around her.

In the face of this heartbreaking loss, we have set up a GoFundMe campaign through Matanho Project to help our dear friend Jacob in this trying time and to honor Martha’s memory. The funds raised will not only support him with immediate expenses but also serve as a tribute to the legacy of a remarkable woman who touched so many lives. Your contribution, no matter how big or small, will make a significant difference in Jacob’s life and ensure that Martha’s impact on our community is remembered and celebrated.

Here’s how you can help:
1. Donate: Every dollar counts, and your donation will directly impact Jacob’s life. https://gofund.me/9206e6bf

2. Share: Even if you are unable to donate at this time, you can still make a difference. Share the GoFundMe campaign with your family, and friends, and on social media to reach a broader audience who may be willing to lend their support.

Let us stand united in this moment of darkness, celebrating the life of a woman who brightened our lives, and be a beacon of hope for our friend in need. Together, we can ease his burden and ensure that Martha’s legacy lives on in the hearts of those she touched.

If you have any questions or need further information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.

Thank you for your compassion, generosity, and solidarity in this time of grief. Let’s surround Jacob with love and support as he navigates through this painful chapter of his life and cherishes the memory of his beloved Martha.

With heartfelt gratitude,
Dana Moffett

Mafuleni family photo

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Festival Updates

Dear Zimfest community,

We are saddened and disappointed to announce that Innocent Musafare Mutero has been denied his visa in South Africa and will be unable to join us for Zimfest 2023. The Teachers and Workshops Team is working flat out to find teachers to take over his workshops and we will let you know when we confirm the revisions to the workshop schedule.

Some festival tips:

  • The weather forecast for Corvallis next weekend is above 90 degrees F. for the duration of the festival! Bring fans for your rooms and stay hydrated! We are no longer providing water to concert performers (trying to avoid plastic water bottles), so bring your own water containers.  To help you out, we will be selling iced fizzy water, probably La Croix, at the Zimfest booth during marketplace hours.
  • Sales for Zimfest tees and this year’s special product, lightweight hoodies, at this year’s Zimfest Booth will again be cash and check only – no added fees! – as we evaluate cashless payment options for future. Bring your cash! If you forget, there are ATMs nearby, in McNary Dining Center as well as the Memorial Union, site of several Zimfest workshop rooms.
  • We are getting attention in Corvallis newspapers, noting the the return of Zimfest to OSU! Enjoy this online version of a story in the Gazette-Times.

Stay cool!

Music Dancing Across Borders

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Zimfest Updates – 10 Days and Counting!

News from the OC and our OSU hosts:

  • OSU University Housing and Dining (UHDS) has added to their housing check-in times in the McNary Hall Main Lounge to better accommodate Zimfest participants’ arrival times. Their housing check-in (and check-out) hours on Thursday Aug 3 through Sunday Aug 6 will be the same as Zimfest registration hours, spelled out in the Festival Schedule and On-campus Housing pages. Housing check-in for staff and early arrivals on Wednesday Aug 2 remains the same, as does the 9-11 AM final check-out time on Monday August 7.
  • UHDS has agreed to keep the South Entrance of McNary Hall unlocked during the hours that housing check-in and Zimfest registration are open. Enter through this door (see below) if you have not yet checked in or if you are staying elsewhere and commuting.

McNary Hall First Floor

  • All Zimfest participants should visit the Zimfest registration area in McNary Hall whether or not you signed up for housing in the dorm, to pick up your meal plan cards and pre-paid single meal cards. We will also be giving out the Festival handout and map showing the workshop locations and festival schedules.
  • Meal times in McNary Dining Center have increased to two hours apiece: Breakfast 7-9 AM; Lunch 11:00 AM – 1 PM: and Dinner 5:00–7:00 PM. See On-Campus Dining for more info.
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Zimfest Deadlines and Check-ins

Hi Zimfest-goers,

Some deadline dates and pointers as festival time approaches:

  • July 18 – Tuesday – is the last day to register for housing (including RV permits) and meals. Click the links for info on on-campus housing and meals.
  • July 18 is also the last date for vendor applications. Be aware that there is a fee for late applications, and we cannot guarantee that latecomers will be provided with tables or chairs as we are renting them from a third party this year.
  • On July 23, workshops with less than minimum enrollment will be canceled. (The minimum is two for mbira workshops; three for all others.) If you have a credit for a previously-canceled workshop, or just haven’t gotten around to deciding what to sign up for, check the workshop list. Support your favorite teacher by signing up for a low enrollment workshop before the 23rd and keep it from being canceled!
  • July 25 – Online workshop registration and volunteer signups close at 11 PM. No changes until August 3rd onsite at the festival.
  • Housing check-in at McNary Hall: Please note the times listed for checking-in for dorm rooms. Zimfest staff is aware that it is difficult for people taking public transit to time their arrival during these windows of time. If you cannot make it during the listed times, UHDS is insistent that you phone this staff on-call duty phone  541-243-2617 when you arrive. I am sorry to have written on the website that other arrangements could be made, but we will continue to try to work with them.

A final tip for renters of dorm rooms – bring a fan!

Claire and the OC

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Festival Updates

Zimfest community,

We are disappointed to announce that Moyo Mutamba has had to cancel his participation in Zimfest 2023 due to personal reasons. We have been able to find excellent replacement teachers for all but one of his workshops, spelled out in the Workshop Changes page on the website. You may also wish to check for adjustments to the Friday and Sunday concert schedules to make up for the loss of Moyo and Friends mbira. 

Festival Hints

As the festival is a mere three weeks away, start preparing now! Those of you who are driving and plan on parking on campus, be advised that permits are mandatory for on-campus parking from 7 AM – 5 PM, Monday to Friday, but free on the weekend. Advance online purchase of a visitor permit is recommended, and there is information on how to go about it on the Parking page. If you check the Zimfest map, it looks like the parking lot on Jefferson way between the dorm and the outdoor stage would be most convenient, but it is not! That is a small lot, loading and unloading for the stage and marketplace will take place from reserved parking sites there, and it is more expensive! We recommend you park in the (cheaper) Zone B parking lots south of McNary Hall and Dining Center. 

See you soon,

Claire and the 2023 Organizing Committee

Music Dancing Across Borders

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To Our Zimfest Volunteers

We L-O-V-E our volunteers!

L-ive the life of a helper
O-pen your heart as you share the work
V-olunteer to show you care
E-veryone can do it!

Thanks to all who have signed up to volunteer. For those who haven’t yet, we need your helping hands! The Volunteer Coordinators are still looking for folks who can join in the “many hands make light work” idea for Zimfest 2023. In case you didn’t know, Zimfest is run by volunteers and in order to keep the festival going and have it be a success, we could use your help. You choose when and how much you want to be involved and then sign up, either online when you register (until July 30th), or in person at the festival—it’s that easy!

We are still looking for people in these areas:
– General festival set up
– Decorations: Setup and Marketplace
– Volunteer Table and Tent
– Workshop support
– Marketplace setup/takedown
– General festival cleanup and signage takedown

So please join us for the cause and share in the love for this festival.

~Ev Keller
Zimfest 2023 Volunteer Co-Coordinator

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Pre-Festival Events in Corvallis

We want to let you know that there will some Zimfest-sponsored outreach events in Corvallis before the festival starts in earnest Aug. 3. These are now appearing on the Festival Events page:

  • Sunday, July 30, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Tashinga Marimba, an Ancient Ways ensemble, will be playing at Common Fields. Entrance is free and family friendly; donations greatly appreciated. Tell all your friends in the Corvallis area!

  • Wednesday, August 2, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Zivanai Masango (and probably some friends) will be playing at the Old World Deli. No cover charge, but tips welcome! If you plan to come early for the festival, here’s a treat for you!

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Zimfest Update and Afropop Shoutout

Greetings All,

  • We are overjoyed to see the popularity of drumming workshops this year! Sheree Seretse’s session 3 beginning drum class is full with 15 people, but if you would like to join and can bring a drum, please write to her at anzanga[at]aol[dot]com for permission to register. Please note also that she has a beginning marimba workshop on “Butsu Mutandari” during session 7, which needs enrollees!
  • Afropop’s audio program this week is a story on Zim Dancehall, which started out as an underground subculture and is now the country’s most popular genre. Find links to other Afropop features on Zimbabwean musicians, including the late Oliver Mtukudzi and Ambuya Stella Chiweshe, on the bottom of the page.

Enjoy the summer weather!
Zimfest Organizing Committee

Music Dancing Across Borders

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