Sansi player shares knowledge at University of Cape Town


Ntchisi Sansi player Patrick Chimbewa recently shared his Sansi playing skills, at University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Chimbewa plays the Sansi also known as thumb piano which consists of a wooden board (often fitted with a resonator) with attached staggered metal tines and it is played by holding the instrument in the hands and plucking the tines with the thumbs.

Chimbewa, who learnt his artistry from veteran ethno-musician Charles Chavaramangwere Mkanthama, was invited to University of Cape Town by senior music lecturer Richard Deja.


Deja, known for his versatility in playing the saxophone, has performed with several musicians in the country including reggae group Black Missionaries.

“It was great to share with students at the University my experience of the Sansi. Such platforms help in passing on the knowledge to people and at the same time you also get to learn from the students,” Chimbewa said.

The youthful artist, who has made progress in playing traditional instruments, has extended the Sansi by introducing a Sansibar having added a baza to the Sansi.


Chimbewa recently also travelled to Zimbabwe on the MutiArts Exchange, a combination of Zimbabwean and Malawian performers with an aim of exploring arts for healing.

Deja said most of the universities he has worked at; do invite guest artists, who are practitioners of their traditions.

“There are guest lectures and sometimes residencies for a semester or full year. I think more needs to be done to breakdown boundaries between institutional and community learning,” he said adding that the university was happy to host Chimbewa.

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