Meet My Ancestors

Tuesday 12 July, 17.30 - 19.30  

Two musicians dressed in black, one with red shawl draped on shoulder, holding an mbira and wooden percussion instrument

Entry via Robinson Close, off South Parks Road.

Book your free place here.

Join John Pfumojena at the Pitt Rivers Museum on 12 July for an early evening event exploring the spiritual ancestry of Greater Zimbabwe past and present.

The event will begin with a rousing performance of music and song from composer, musician, singer and performer, John Pfumojena. John will play mbira and sing self-composed contemporary Zimbabwean music that speaks to the spiritual practice of invoking the ancestors. John's co-star from his recently premiered show Bunker of Zion, Tawanda Mapanda, will also perform on marimba. The performance will take place amongst the cabinets of the museum collection, bringing the living contemporary music into confrontational conversation with the museum artefacts.

Following the live performance, there will be an in-panel conversation featuring John Pfumojena in conversation with Dr Lennon Mhishi (Pitt Rivers Museum), spoken word artist Rawz Campbell, and Prof. Shadreck Chirikure. The panel will discuss the ethics of museum collection, including the specific complexities of housing spiritual items from other cultures, the legacy and contemporary music of mbira and marimba and the problematic relegation of living instruments to 'artefacts' in European museums, as well as the issue of 'access', which sees living descendants locked out from their rightful communion with the spiritual objects of their ancestors. Lastly, the conversation will turn to the future and to the steps that can be taken to bring the ancestor's objects home.


Radical Hope: We're inviting visitors to connect with the themes driving Pitt Rivers Museum's 2022 research, curation and engagement programmes: immerse yourself in the Play! Project; deconstruct stereotypes as we move Beyond Binaries; join us in Radical Hope to imagine equitable and decolonised heritage spaces; and see a different side to the collections through Museums at Night.

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