Making Matepe

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

Over the course of a week, we recorded the entire process in which Sekuru Chawasarira builds an instrument and explains the steps involved, and edited it into 57 instructional videos.

During the recordings, we noticed that although you learn a lot when a master craftsman 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”)

Sekuru explains how to build a matepe

If you consider building your own mbira, watch this video about tools and materials used in the process:

Matepe clinic

This section is work in progress.

  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