The renowned local mbila musician Jutas Kanakana Mathoho, better known as Vho JK Mathoho. Photo: Thivhilaeli Makatu.
On Wednesday, 27 September, the government of Flanders, in collaboration with Freedom Park, hosted a film screening of “Mutoli wa Nyimbo dza Tshivenda na Vhavenda Vho JK Mathoho,” a documentary on the extraordinary life of renowned local mbila musician Jutas Kanakana Mathoho, better known as Vho JK Mathoho. The screening took place at Freedom Park in Pretoria.
“Mutoli wa Nyimbo dza Tshivenda na Vhavenda Vho JK Mathoho” translates to “The Joy of Tshivenda Songs with Vhavenda Vho JK Mathoho.”
The film was nothing short of a mesmerising journey into the world of tradition, culture, and timeless storytelling. This captivating evening was further enriched by a musical performance and an enlightening fireside chat with the star of the show himself.
The 85-year-old legend is regarded as one of the guardians of traditional Tshivenda music and instruments, with mastery in the mbila, a thumb piano.
Mr Thivhilaeli Makatu, the producer and scriptwriter of the documentary, said the film was unique in that it set itself apart from the overwhelming urban popular culture to focus on delivering Tshivenda indigenous music to the audience through the life story and philosophy of the mbila guru and other featured Vhavenda musicians.
Vho JK Mathoho’s son, Dr Nnzekiseni Mathoho, who is also his manager, shared some insights into his father’s music. “His music addresses the daily issues that affect people’s lives. It is both entertaining and educational, intended to inspire and encourage the audience regarding their life struggles. I hope that young people will develop an interest in mbila music and other indigenous arts. My father’s lifelong dedication to leaving a legacy for future generations to appreciate their culture and heritage has been realised through this film,” he said.
The documentary not only celebrates the power of music in shaping communities and passing down cultural legacies through generations but also serves as a poignant reminder of a way of life and intangible cultural heritage that are at risk of fading away in today’s fast-paced world.
Entertainment - Date: 08 October 2023
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Thembi Siaga started as an intern during 2021. He assisted with video photography and editing. He also produced numerous small documentaries, focusing on the Vhembe region and its people. Currently he works as a freelance journalist, covering stories in the Elim area.
Thembi studied at the Tshwane University of Technology, where he completed his diploma in Journalism in 2021.