We have an mbira in our Racial Justice Collection.
Mbira are a family of musical instruments which are traditional to the Shona people of Zimbabwe. They have a wooden board with attached staggered metal tines. They are played by holding the instrument in the hands and plucking the tines with the thumbs, the right forefinger, and sometimes the left forefinger.
The Pitt Rivers Museum website hosts a video of a conversation with Thabo Muleya who explains the cultural significance of the mbira instrument here. He explains how the instrument was used in celebrations and community events such as harvests, rain dances, weddings and funerals, as well as being used by spiritual seers and traditional healers. Mbira players would play the instruments while seers and healers were practising. When the country was colonised, the mbira was regarded with suspicion by Christian missionaries and converts.
The playing of the mbira "went underground", resurfacing as a source of inspiration during the Zimbabwean struggle for independence up to 1980.