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This information was automatically generated from data provided by MOA: University of British Columbia. It has been standardized to aid in finding and grouping information within the RRN. Accuracy and meaning should be verified from the Data Source tab.


A hollowed wooden block with sixteen flattened, then curved, bicycle spokes of varying lengths laid parallel to each other and crossing an inset metal plate. The spokes are held in place across their flattened ends by a metal rod, whose ends have been pounded into the wooden block. The rod is secured by four metal loops spaced across its length and pinned into the block. A small metal rod projecting from the opposite end of the instrument holds twelve small metal rings.

History Of Use

The sanza, or mbira (Shona language) is a plucked idiophone (or lamellaphone) that has been in use for thousands of years, and is played widely throughout the African continent. It is known by many different names, and has undergone variations, but the general style and function remain consistent. The instrument is more widely used by peoples of Bantu descent, often called kalimba or mbira, but it has also been adopted and used in the folk music of younger Khoisan generations, where it is known as dongu or sitengema.

Cultural Context

Musical insturment.

Item History

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