The Sunday News
Mncedisi Buhali Sunday News Reporter
ABOUT 100 soldiers graduated recently at the Military School of Music (MSM) in a ceremony held at Imbizo Barracks after successfully completing four music courses.
According to the commandant of the school, Major Patrick Mhlanga, one of the courses began in March last year and the other three, at the beginning of this year.
“This graduation marks the end of the 2014 training. The Military School of Music remains committed in maintaining the highest standards of military music learning, in order to produce recognised, competent, enthusiastic and relevant musicians in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF). The overall goal of the school is to offer selected officers, men and women an intellectually challenging learning experience that prepares them for higher responsibilities in the music industry,” said Maj Mhlanga.
He said in order for them to remain relevant and appealing to the Zimbabwean Defence Forces and the general public, the school has bench marked its programmes to match international standards.
“The school continues to strive to keep pace with technological developments by providing students with a broad outlook and intellectual depths to deal with the intricacies associated with the music industry. I am confident that amongst the officers, men and women who study at this school will emerge future artistes in the mould of Oliver Mtukudzi, Soul Brothers and many more with professional knowledge, skills and aptitude to cope with musical challenges,” he added.
Among the four courses there was the junior bandsman course which was designed to develop the knowledge and skills in the music arena, the bandmaster’s course which was aimed at upgrading senior bandsman to become composers and conductors and there was the director of music course which was designed to train officers to become band administrators.
Students who did well in the courses walked away with prizes. Among these there was, Thompson Gweshe from the Airforce of Zimbabwe, who was the best student in the director of music course.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the guest of honour, Colonel Shadreck Vezha who is the personal staff officer to commander Zimbabwe National Army, Lt-General Philip Valerio Sibanda said the directors of music had a capacity of four officers and one from the Airforce of Zimbabwe, who scooped a prize.
“I am happy to note that among the four officers one is a female. The bandmasters had a capacity of seven students and the two junior bandsman courses started with a capacity of 117 students and a total of 103 are graduating, 14 students fell by the wayside owing to various reasons, chief among them indiscipline while for some it was on medical grounds,” said Col Vezha.
He added that he was happy that among those who graduated were females.
“Amongst the junior bandsman graduands, 31 are female making a total of 32 female students graduating today. Accommodating more female members gives a sense of purpose pointing to accepting them as capable and equal partners in our drive to develop music in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,” said Col Vezha.
“This deliberate gender mainstreaming approach is worthy of praise. This development is in line with Zimbabwe’s publicly acclaimed policy of gender equality which seeks to further the ideas and virtues of women as equal participants in our society. I therefore encourage this institution to continue enrolling females in future courses in an effort to champion the millennium development goals.”
Col Vezha said the graduands’ task remained enviable and important in the Zimbabwe Defence Force as they would be required to perform during ceremonial, funeral parades and social functions which calls for perfection and dedication to duty.
“Music is without doubt a vital centre of gravity in everything we do; hence it should perfectly have meaning and relevance to any given occasion. With this in mind, it is critical that an institution like this one should be ready to fulfil its mandate by thoroughly training its personnel. The training you have undergone for the past 47 weeks plays a significant part in your preparedness in the music industry,” he said.
He commended the students saying he was aware that their courses were run under adverse challenges but through their resilience they managed to brush aside and persevered to the end.
“It gives me comfort and a sense of elation that despite the challenges encountered you soldiered on leading to another memorable day on the training calendar of this school as we witness your graduation today. Let me hasten to point that our solace is in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) which in the fullness of time will yield favourable results thus benefiting the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in its totality. It is therefore incumbent upon us as military personnel to remain vigilant in our day to day discharge of our duties allowing us to be a force to reckon with, regionally and internationally,” said Col Vezha.