North Cowichan will stand behind efforts by a local group to host cultural exchanges with Zimbabwe.
Council decided at its meeting on April 17 to write a letter of support for the Zimbabwe Music Society validating and acknowledging the society as a non-profit and conveying support for the valuable work the society is providing to the community.
The decision was made after the municipality received a letter from Amy Matamba, from Little Zimbabwe Farm on Cowichan Lake Road, asking that the letter be provided.
At a previous council meeting early in April, Matamba told council about the society’s plan to begin cultural exchanges between the Cowichan Valley and Zimbabwe, and said she would be seeking council’s assistance in dealing with the formidable federal immigration bureaucracy to bring in their guests to the Valley from Africa.
In the letter Matamba said the society is inviting Zimbabwe’s “greatest musicians” for a cultural exchange and a musical tour on Vancouver Island in June.
The guests include Mbira masters Forward Kwenda and Matemai, and performance ensemble Mbira Dzeogonera.
“By bringing the beauty and traditions of Africa to our community through the arts and culture, a great number of people, that otherwise may never travel to Africa, will feel and participate in an authentic, cultural experience that we believe will make a difference and better lives,” she said.
“The Zimbabwe Music Society will be hosting our respected guests in the Cowichan Valley at Little Zimbabwe Farm for approximately two to three months. As well as a performance tour, our respected guests will take part in agriculture activities on the farm, demonstrating another area of expertise in the cultural exchange.”
At the previous council meeting, Matamba and her Zimbabwe-born husband Tafadzwa said they want to develop an agricultural, music, arts and culture, and health and wellness school at their farm for local and international students of all ages.