Stella Rambisai Chiweshe is a popular Zimbabwean mbira player and arguably the first pioneer of Chimurenga music. She mad history by becoming the first successful female artist to venture into the male-dominated music industry.

Stella Chiweshe
Stella Chiweshe
Born Stella Rambisai Chiweshe
July 8, 1946
Mujumi Village Mhondoro
  • Musician
Known for Being a musician.
Children Virginia Mukwesha



She was born on the 8th of July 1964 in Mujumi Village, Mhondoro, about 45 miles from the capital city, Harare .[1] She is married to a German national were she now permanently resides. Her daughter Virgina Mukwesha is also a musician having tught to play mbira since she was 12.

Music career

Stella Rambisai Chiweshe defied the odds and the tradition when she started learning to play mbira, an instrument which culturally forbidden to women. She also risked arrest as she was part of the underground Shona cultural activities that had been banned by the colonial regime. Chiweshe's passion for the instrument caused her to learn it between 1966-1969. In those days she was labelled 'loose' as she spend most of her time with men who were teaching him.[2] After mastering it she went on to sign a deal with Teal Record Company (now Grammar Records that saw her release her first single 'Kasahwa' which went gold. Chiweshe went on to record more than 20 singles with the same company between 1975 and 1978 but they were never promoted hence they were never played on radio. This only made her stronger as she went on to form her first band 'Earthquake' in 1979 after Teal refused to record mbira music. Her talent promoted her to assume a leading role as a mbira player and dancer in the National Dance Company of Zimbabwe in 1981.[3] The group toured many countries holding shows.

International Tours

1981 - 1985 : She performed in:


The track 'Kumusha' won her a 1993 Billboard Music Award for performance on the Adult/ Alternativ/ World Music Album of the year) -Shungu 1990. In 2006, she won a National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA)for being for being the most outstanding female artist in the music industry and for being the ambassador of the Zimbabwean culture.

As an Actress

Ambuya Chiweshe is not only a talented musician but an actress as well. She showed his versetality by featuring in Godwin Mawuru’s film, 'I Am The Future' in 1989.[4]



  1. Stella Rambisai Chiweshe, 'African Music', Published: ND, Retrieved: 14 Apr 2014
  2. Jennifer Byrne, Stella Chiweshe: Seeking the sound of liberation, 'Roots World', Published: ND, Retrieved: 14 Apr 2014
  3. Stella Chiweshe
  4. Ruth Butaumocho, Ambuya Stella flies flag high, 'Herald' Published: 29 march 2011, Retrieved: 13 Apr 2014