By Carlos Ncube
ALL–FEMALE Mozambican music group, The Divas, is empowering schoolgirls in the country’s disadvantaged areas by using music as a means through which they can earn a living.
This year the band launched Girls Rock Camps, an initiative designed to support girls to build self-esteem and find their voices through music education and performance.
The initiative will see the five-member band, teaching girls in their early teens how to play musical instruments.
Speaking to the media, band member, Amelia Mondlane, said: “We realised that the Girls Rock Camp was taking place in other countries but nothing similar happened locally.
“So we decided to design a project for Mozambique. Our academy approved the project straight away. As we presented our projects to the schools, they kindly explained to us that such activities could disturb the normal flow classes in the schools.”
Mondlane said she had doubts before joining the academy. “Sometimes, before starting my classes, I would ask myself: ‘What will people think when they ask me what I study’ and I answered: ‘Music’”
Mondlane, who is a drummer, said they faced resistance and rejection by most schools and had resorted to the outskirts of Maputo.
The band pitched the idea to school principals in rural areas and it was well-received, although some thought it would hamper the learning time of the students.
“The schools had contacted the parents of the girls for our sake,” she said, adding that the parents accepted the project with open arms.
Mondlane said the campaign did not require the pupils to have any background knowledge of music or musical instruments.
The Girls Rock Camp is currently training 22 girls from schools in the Chamanculo, Mafalala and Xipamanine areas.
Founded in 2016, The Divas is a product of the Music Crossroads Academy, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping young people to have their voices heard. It is through this academy that The Divas were able to advocate for gender equality in the music sector using by schools as a medium and also to take part in various cultural exchange programmes.
The Divas comprises Kaluza Banda, Ingrid Dyrnes, Amelia Felizarda, Amelia Mondlane and Nina July. – Music In Africa