Zimbabwe: Ngatitangei

I am so excited to travel to a brand new continent, Africa! Martin has chosen Zimbabwe as our country this week.

One of the things I love about doing this project with Martin is not only exposing him to cultures from around the world but learning about them myself! I didn’t know much about Zimbabwe when he picked it and thankfully I had the internet to educate me! I learned a lot and I hope you do too this week!

First things first, we made the flag! This one is more complicated but I was thrilled that we were able to make it fully, with no shortcuts. As always I taped off different sections and Martin painted one color at a time, letting it dry in between colors.

Sadly the tape peeled off quite a bit of paint, so I had to repaint a fair amount, free hand on my own.

Next came the golden bird- I did my best to recreate it on yellow paper.

Typically, the meaning of a nation’s flag can be quite predictable, that is not the same with the Zimbabwean flag. There is a bird on the flag and it is a depiction of a sandstone bird statue found in Great Zimbabwe and it represents the past and the their ancestor’s connection with nature. Underneath the bird is a red star and it represents the future and the nations aspirations. I love how both the nation’s goals for the future and respect for where they have come from is represented in their flag.

Musical Craft Time

As a musician I have always had a massive respect for African style music and musicians. So I was very excited when I learned that Zimbabwe has a unique national instrument- the mbria! The mbria (Mm- brie-yah) is also know as the finger harp. It is a small instrument made of a wooden base and metal ‘fingers’ that the player plucks. The sound is beautiful.

Martin and I set out to make our own. I found a wooden tag at the store and so that would be our base. I extending our craft time quite a bit by having Martin paint the base in layers. He started with yellow then we taped what we wanted to stay yellow. Then we did the same with red then green till finally we did a final layer in black (we used the colors of the flag).

Once it was fully dry (an hour or so later) we peeled off the tape to reveal the beautiful pattern underneath!

Next we bent open some different style and sized bobby pins. Then finished it off by taping them in place with some electrical tape. The sound is no where near what a real mbria would sound like but it’s close enough for a 3 year old 🙂

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