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Currently, young people in Zanzibar have minimal access to music education of any kind. Music is part of the curriculum in neither public nor private schools. At best, a child grows up in an environment where traditional music is still part of the social fabric of their surroundings, and picks up skills in the traditional way of learning melodies, instrumental skills and music styles in the oral, rote method.
A rural outreach program has been designed to respond to requests of rural communities to bring music education and music performance skills to the more remote locations. This is especially true for those areas where small traditional instrument groups continue to exist and struggle to survive. Mahonda is a small village about 25 km outside of Stone Town, the capital of Zanzibar. Here a small group, “Kizazi Kipya” meets daily to rehearse and practice taarab music. Their resources are very scanty i.e.,they have a few broken violins and drums and the skills of the musicians more than limited. Direct beneficiaries of this project will be musicians who wish to develop their innate musical skills and young people interested in studying music from the rural areas around Mahonda.
The Mahona Center, a branch of the Dhow Countries Music Academy, is targeted for people who already have some skills in music, enabling them to pass on their knowledge to others on a continuous basis, and to train some more serious participants to come to the DCMA in Stone Town for full-time studies leading towards Certificate and Diploma qualifications.