GOOGLE has joined the Culture Week celebrations in Zimbabwe by incorporating the mbira in an interactive video that enables interested users to play the instrument.


Culture Week is an annual event hosted by the Youth ministry through the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and coincides with the Unesco World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development which falls on May 21 every year.

The mbira (or thumb piano), which has been played for over 1 000 years, is one of the country’s most enduring cultural music instruments used predominantly during traditional ceremonies and rituals of the Shona people.

Through the music of the mbira, the Shona people have been able to pass down over hundreds of years and generations of tradition.

This interactive google doodle video on the site’s homepage on May 21 allows players to learn about the instrument through the story of a Zimbabwean girl, shedding light on its rich musical history.

Despite being an ancient instrument, the mbira has been used by several contemporary musicians in Zimbabwe who blended it with other contemporary instruments.

These included Stella Chiweshe, the late Biggie Tembo, Thomas Mapfumo and the late Oliver Mtukudzi.