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Queen of Mbira: Mbuya Stella Chiweshe Dies

One of Mbuya Stella Chiweshe's songs HUYA UZOONA was a sound track to the local drama Gringo.

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Zimbabwean Mbira music legend Ambuya Stella Chiweshe has died in Harare’s Kuwadzana suburb.

She was aged 76. The mbira queen died this morning at her home in Kuwadzana, Harare. She was born Stella Rambisai Nekati Chiweshe on 8 July 1946 in Mujumi Village, Mhondoro, Zimbabwe. One of her songs HUYA UZOONA was a sound track to the local drama Gringo.

  • 1st single Kasahwa went gold in 1975.
  • 1979 she started her band the Earthquake after the record company had refused to record Mbira.
  •  2020 @namaszim bestowed her with a lifetime achievement award.

The Mbira legend was once married to Africa’s second footballer to play in Europe, Freddy Mkwesha. She spent most of her time in Germany where her husband Peter Reich comes from.

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She died after a long battle with cancer. One of only a few female players of the enchanting traditional musical instrument, she leaves a rich legacy. In 2020, mbira music was endorsed by UNESCO on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The mystical music has been played predominately by the Shona people of Zimbabwe for hundreds of years, but also in Malawi and Mozambique.

Chiweshe played an important role in popularising mbira music worldwide, often performing at packed venues in Europe and North America.


Person for people. Reader of writings. Writer of readings.

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