My essay is based on a true story about a magical instrument I found at my friend Paul’s apartment. The year was 2012 and everyone our age believed in the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar. We were coming home from a music festival, held in honour of the Mayan people. I had no other place to spend the night. He had invited me to spend the night at his place, where he made me a tasty cheese sandwich. The night was dark and cold, as he opened the door to his apartment.

“You can sleep on the couch,” he said.

I hesitated, “Aren’t you going to offer me your bedroom?”

He replied, “No.”

He showed me his bathroom, and said, “This is the toilet in case you need it.”

The tiles in his bathroom were blue and shiny. I liked the decoration. The couch was not too bad itself. It was a large brown couch, and it was very comfortable.

The next morning I was woken up by the sound of birds. The morning breeze felt warm against my skin, as Paul was coming out of his bedroom getting ready to make us coffee. He stepped outside towards his parent’s house, when I took the privilege of searching around his flat for anything interesting. That is when I saw a carved wooden box, filled with beautiful African carvings on the outside. I opened the box and found a wooden object with stainless steel strings. I did not know what it was and was afraid to ask Paul.

Eventually, when he came back from his parent’s kitchen with the coffee, I began to ask him about the object that I had found in his wooden box.

“That is called an mbira. It is an African music instrument,” he said.

“Aha,” I said, astonished.

Paul’s blue eyes widened as he began to describe to me the manner in which the instrument was magical. This ‘aha’ moment changed my life because for the very first time I learned about the Shona people from West Africa who played this instrument in honour of their ancestors. I borrowed the instrument and whenever I played it, it caused the rain to come down, because through the rain is how the ancestors could speak with whomever played it.

Ever since I started playing the mbira I was invited to several musical festivals to play it. And every time I played it I explained how the mbira was a way the Shona communicated with the ancestors. The mbira changed my life because before I found it at Paul’s place, I never imagined I would play a musical instrument. The mbira sounds like a twinkling bell, and it is good for relaxation and meditation. The mbira can relieve stress for both the player and the audience.

In conclusion, the mbira is good for our health. If we believe in it we can cause the rain to calm down and save our planet from global warming. We can also use the mbira to lull our babies to sleep.


Tell us: What do you think about the magical mbira?