Blog June 10, 2022
Joyce Jenje Makwenda and the Zimbabwe Township Music Archive

Joyce Jenje Makwenda, a curator of Zimbabwean social history, has an archive in Harare, Zimbabwe that includes an extensive collection of township music and memorabilia. She is the author of the book and documentary film entitled Zimbabwe Township Music, which you can watch here.

The collection comprises over 10,000 LPs from the ’30s to the ’80s. Some of the artifacts in this museum, which is housed in a converted garage, include vintage gramophones, a double bass, guitars, a Hammond organ from the 1930s, a Tempest stereo from the ’70s, Westinghouse typewriters from the 1930s and even a collection of 2,000 hot hair pressing combs for hair straightening.

Zimbabwe Township Music (Storytime Promotions) 2005
Zimbabwe Township Music (Storytime Promotions) 2005

The archive has interviews on audio and video, photos, press cuttings of music and musicians from South Africa, and the former Rhodesia Federation, the territory which is now Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi today. Makwenda has also documented the music that came out of the British protectorates of Lesotho, Swaziland and Barotseland from the 1930s and mostly the ’40s.

Original vinyl of Dorothy Masuka and Job's Combination - Ingalo (1981)
Original vinyl of Dorothy Masuka and Job's Combination - Ingalo (1981)

The museum hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Makwenda can be contacted via the National Gallery of Zimbabwe for appointments to see the collection and obtain copies of her book, which is worthy of a review here soon.

Guitar of Kenneth and Lina Mattaka
Guitar of Kenneth and Lina Mattaka

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