Making Matepe

This section is work in progress.

On these pages you will learn how to build a matepe.

We recorded the entire, approximately one week-long process in which Sekuru Chawasarira builds an instrument and explains the steps involved. We then edited it into 52 instructional videos.

During the recordings, we noticed that although you learn a lot when the master shows and explains his work, he does everything correctly from the start and does not run into the same problems as a beginner.

Therefore, Kuda Samora Nyaruwabvu afterwards built his own instrument and asked Chawasarira for advice whenever he encountered difficulties (“Matepe Clinic” videos).

Chaka Chawasarira explains how to build a matepe

Soundboard and Applications

  1. Cutting the soundboard
  2. Woodworking tools, Hollowing the soundboard
  3. Shaping the soundboard
  4. Groove for the pillow
  5. Shaping the bridge support
  6. Cutting the bridge support
  7. Making pegs
  8. Fitting the bridge support
  9. Applying the glue
  10. Making the pillow
  11. Levelling the soundboard

Bridge and Bar

  1. Preparing to forge the bridge
  2. Heating the forge
  3. Forging the bridge
  4. Making the bar
  5. Putting scars into the bar
  6. Drilling the holes
  7. Fitting the bridge
  8. Cutting the brace
  9. Making washers
  10. Soundboard measurements
  11. Putting in the spokes I
  12. Putting in the spokes II
  13. Balancing the bridge

Making keys

  1. Preparing the wire for the keys
  2. Making the keys I
  3. Making the keys II
  4. Making the keys III
  5. Tools
  6. Forging keys I
  7. Forging keys II
  8. Forging keys III
  9. Forging keys IV
  10. Forging keys V
  11. Forging keys VI
  12. Making Nhetete keys
  13. Making Magotokoto keys I
  14. Making Magotokoto keys II
  15. Making Magotokoto keys III
  16. Fine tuning before cutting

Decoration and Accessories

  1. Cutting keys I
  2. Cutting keys II
  3. Decorating I
  4. Decorating II
  5. Burning the inside
  6. Making supporters I
  7. Making supporters II
  8. Making the buzzer tin
  9. Tuning up
  10. Cutting grip hole


  1. Explaining matching overtones
  2. Introducing the new mbira

Matepe clinic

  1. Cutting soundboard
  2. Fitting the bridge
  3. Making pillow
  4. Making the bridge
  5. Making the pillow from a log
  6. Modelling soundboard
  7. Fitting the pillow
  8. Making the bar, brace and washers
  9. Cutting the wires for keys
  10. Making the keys
  11. Straightening the wires
  12. Fitting placeholder keys
  13. Hammering the keys
  14. Fitting the keys
  15. Burn decoration
  16. Final product