London College of Music Examinations’ examiner Paul Colman recently visited five countries in Southern Africa to conduct a series of workshops about LCM exams for local musicians, music teachers and professionals.
Paul visited Harare and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, Gaborone in Botswana, Lusaka in Zambia, Mbabane in Eswatini and Kigali in Rwanda, over the course of five weeks from the end of March through April 2022. The workshops focused on the range and flexibility of exams available, from face-to-face to digital, the marking criteria and registration process and LCME’s potential future plans. The session was followed by a Q&A where attendees had the opportunity to ask any questions.
While LCME already has representatives in some of these countries, in others, such as Zimbabwe, Eswatini and Rwanda, there has been, up until now, no recognised exam board present. The only means of taking an exam is for the candidate to travel to South Africa. This restricts music exams to only the privileged few who can afford them.
This is despite the fact, in this area of the world, music-making is a part of everyday life and there is a real desire for formally-recognised qualifications for performers. The regions of southern Africa are home to a rich and diverse cultural landscape, which is reflected in the variety of musical styles and activities practised throughout, including a multitude of competitions, festivals and initiatives that are organised to empower young musicians in schools.
During this trip, Paul was able to meet with new rep, Chipo Mtakwa, who is launching the first LCME centre in Zimbabwe, and Nicholas Sentsima, who will be opening a new exam centre in Botswana.
Head of London College of Music Examinations, Merv Young, says: ‘We’re looking forward to establishing our first exam centres in Zimbabwe, Eswatini and Rwanda and expanding our presence in Botswana and Zambia, so we can offer students in these areas the opportunity to take an exam accredited by a London university, no matter their personal and financial circumstances’.