Prudence Mabhena is an award-winning singer-songwriter from Zimbabwe. Born with arthrogryposis into a society in which people with severe physical disabilities were often feared and abandoned, Prudence grew up fighting to overcome discrimination and remain visible in her community. Raised by her maternal grandmother, Prudence found her voice as a student at the King George VI School for the Disabled and went on to lead Liyana, an eight-piece afro-fusion music group with her classmates — all of whom have disabilities.
The group went on to gain international recognition and has toured countries around the world. Prudence’s artistry and perseverance eventually caught the attention of director Roger Ross Williams, who made the documentary Music by Prudence, which aired on HBO in 2010. The documentary won an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) at the 82nd Academy Awards. Prudence attended the ceremony in Los Angeles.
In recognition of her work in raising awareness about the extreme challenges facing children with disabilities in Zimbabwe, Prudence was named a UNICEF National Ambassador in 2011. Today, Prudence continues to advocate for the disability community, while also creating new music and coaching aspiring musicians in Zimbabwe.