Nobuntu, and A Capella musical group from Zimbabwe, stopped at Slippery Rock University’s Student Center ballroom Wednesday during their first-ever U.S. tour, having toured in Africa previously.
The female quintet sings and dances to Zimbabwean songs, African jazz and gospel. The group performed 18 songs, each with a specific meaning, from celebrating Nelson Mandela to ending domestic violence.
Deborah Baker, director of special events, had heard from their agent that they were going to have a U.S. tour and had immediate interest.
“They filled very quickly because so many places were so excited about them coming,” Baker said.
Although there were many reasons Baker thought to have Nobuntu come, a major one was the university’s commitment to diversity.
“There were a number of faculty who teach diversity within the class whether its diversity in music or diversity within cultures and so there was a lot of faculty support and organizational support to bring in this kind of program,” Baker said.
Throughout the night, Nobuntu taught and led the crowd to clap their rhythms along with them, and explained some of their purposes in singing.
To Baker, going to Nobuntu’s performance will allow them to see some beautiful woman who are proud of their heritage and can display it through wonderful music and dance.
“It is a very organic kind of dance. I think if they appreciate music and dance and cultural diversity they will be introduced to some traditional dance and music of Zimbabwe which is not something that we, as Americans, grow up seeing and learning a lot about,” Baker said. “I think it is a unique opportunity and a special one.
Slippery Rock will also be holding more performing arts throughout the year, including “Shades of Buble,” “Motown Revue” and “The Young Islanders.”
“Because of our limitations with doing our programs in ballrooms and not having a theatre at the moment, we have mostly been doing musical kinds of productions,” Baker said. “Someday when we’re back in a traditional theatre we can do dance again, which we love to do and more traditional theatre.”
Baker believes it is important for students to come to all Slippery Rock has to offer.
“It’s a wonderful time for students to see some of this work because it is very affordable and if they decide they like it and go to the city to see if they will be paying 50, 60 or 70 dollars,” Baker said.
“(Nobuntu) appreciates and shares the warmth and love of African woman and their commitment to women and culture and family,” Baker said.
“Being a woman myself, it is always nice to see how woman can add to the culture and the respect the culture has for them,” Baker said.
The women of Nobuntu met and spoke to students after their performance.
“I think, for the most part, our students come out saying they loved it,” Baker said.