Amy and Tafadzwa Matamba, from Little Zimbabwe Farm on Cowichan Lake Road, are hoping that North Cowichan will assist them financially and with letters of support in their latest project.
The couple, who began their presentation at the council meeting on April 3 with a song, said they want to develop an agricultural, music, arts and culture, and health and wellness school for local and international students of all ages.
Amy said it was their vision to build on an “edu-tainment” philosophy where they bring successful artists, educators, athletes and farmers from Zimbabwe, where Tafadzwa is originally from, to the Cowichan Valley to model inspiring work and performance ethics, as well as for the education that cultural exchanges provide for the visitors and the local community.
She said they were seeking support from the municipality for funding in the future to go towards creating employment on their farm as part of the project, as well as building greenhouses, irrigation systems and accommodations.
“Our hope is to receive support in helping us bring a piece of Zimbabwe here,” Amy said.
“We ask that you keep us in mind as you establish programs in the community, and we hope that you can come by the farm for a tour to see what we do there.”
Mayor Al Siebring said the municipality currently has no funding available for such purposes.
Amy said that, for now, the couple would appreciate any letters of support that council could provide as they embark on helping other artists come to Canada from Zimbabwe.
“It’s hard to get in this country, so we’d appreciate any support you can give to help us with this.”
Amy and Tafadzwa Matamba are also the founders of the band Mbira Spirit and have developed the non-profit Matamba Culture, Arts and Education Centre here in Canada and Zimbabwe.
The centre promotes and educates in the areas of the arts, music, culture, sports, sustainability, agriculture, solar energy, tourism, and economic development.
Amy, an educator for more than 20 years in the Cowichan Valley, met Tafadzwa, a fellow musician, in 2012 when she went to Zimbabwe after studying Zimbabwean music in Canada and invited him to come to Canada to tour the country.
They eventually married and began Little Zimbabwe Farm which, as well as farming, also hosts artists, educators, community groups, classes, concerts and tours.