Remembering Cosmas Magaya

Remembering Cosmas Magaya

(Image :Sekuru Magaya playing his mbira in 2014)

We at Tariro mourn the loss of our founding board member Sekuru Cosmas Magaya, who died of COVID-19 on July 10, 2020. In addition to his work with Tariro, Sekuru Magaya was also an internationally renowned mbira player, a village headman in Mhondoro, and a founding member of two other non-profit organizations, Nhimbe for Progress and Humwe. We send our condolences to Sekuru Magaya’s family, community, student, and many friends around the world.

(Image: Tariro Program Coordinator Fadzie Muzhandu in the Tariro library in 2008)

Sekuru Magaya and his family were involved in Tariro since the beginning. His daughter, Tsitsi Magaya, helped select “Tariro,” or “Hope,” as our organization’s name. In our early years, Sekuru Magaya was integral in selecting our beneficiaries, who were initially split between his rural area of Mhondoro and the urban townships of Glen Norah and Highfield. He made many trips in his pick-up truck to pay school fees, and to purchase and deliver uniforms and other supplies to these early beneficiaries.

After Tariro hired a full-time program coordinator in 2006, Sekuru Magaya continued to participate actively as a member of Tariro’s Board of Trustees in Zimbabwe. During the economic and political crisis of 2008-2009, for example, he helped to organize emergency food relief for our students and their families.

(Image: Sekuru Magaya pictured with Tariro students and US visitor Virginia Barrett in 2003)

Sekuru Magaya even set aside room in his father’s home in Glen Norah to serve as an office, library, and community space for our students. Located at the heart of the communities we serve, this space offered an accessible hub for our students to meet with Tariro staff, receive tutoring, and pick up books and other supplies. Sekuru Magaya and his family regularly hosted Tariro’s international visitors, including our founder Jennifer Kyker, who stayed with his family for several months in 2008.

A memorial fund has been established in Sekuru Magaya’s name through the Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center, which organized many of his US tours. Donations to the Magaya Memorial Fund will help to cover funeral expenses for Sekuru Magaya, as well as COVID-19 testing and medical expenses necessary for the 10+ family members who cared for him during his illness. Any remaining funds will go to the organization Humwe (The Cosmas Magaya Cultural Arts & Education Center). To donate, please visit:


(Image: Tariro students receiving emergency food relief in Mhondoro)

Sekuru Magaya’s legacy will live on in many ways. Among them are the books he wrote with ethnomusicologist Paul Berliner, his own family’s dedication to upholding the tradition of Zimbabwean mbira music through Humwe, the many students’ lives he transformed through Tariro, and the community development work he did through Nhimbe for Progress and as a village headman in Mhondoro.

On behalf of all of our students, families, board members, and staff, Tariro sends our condolences to Sekuru Magaya’s family, students, and friends. To you we say, “Nematambudziko” or “We share your sorrow.”


~Jennifer Kyker (Founder)


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