Has Sulu met his Damascene moment?

HARARE - Ever since he took over as the leader of Orchestra Dendera Kings after the death of his father in 2005, Suluman Chimbetu has generally come across as a dyed-in-the-wool supporter for the ruling Zanu PF party.

The 34-year old artiste has had a long association with Zanu PF thanks largely to the fact that his late father-music legend Simon Chimbetu-took part in the war of liberation against Ian Smith’s racist regime.

Due to his close ties with the ruling elite, Suluman was appointed brand ambassador of the first family’s Alpha Omega Dairy. He is also a regular performer at the ruling party’s events.

That is why Suluman’s latest album “Jamboree” has come like a bolt from the blue for many.

Unlike his previous albums “Ndomusiya Nani”, “Reverse Deal”, “Non-Stop”, “Syllabus” and “Gunship,” which largely stayed clear of politics, Suluman’s latest offering has several songs which take aim at the deteriorating political and economic situation in the country.

On the album, rather uncharacteristically, the 34-year-old music star doesn’t shy away from painting a graphic picture of the poverty and pain being experienced by the poor and the powerless.

One such song is “Tiringwe” in which Sulu calls for God’s intervention and guidance to rescue people from the harsh economic conditions prevailing in the country, adding that people are working tirelessly in a bid to make ends meet.

But it is the track “Moses” which has sent tongues wagging. In the song Sulu sings about a person with a dangerous talisman (gona riri kutaramutsa vana vevamwe) causing untold suffering to the people of Zimbabwe. He pleads for a Moses to take people away from Pharoah’s cruelty and bondage.

Some of the lyrics on Moses go: “Moses rova gungwa netsvimbo hona Pharoah atipinza huranda.

Hatidi huranda/hurombe, kutanda botso tisina kurova mai.”

One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to identify the Pharoah whose policies has wreaked havoc in the lives of Zimbabweans.

Another politically potent track on the album is “Mhasuro” which hits out at those who perpetrate violence. It calls on those with power and influence to stop inflicting pain and violence on innocent civilians in a bid to win allegiance.

Part of the song goes: “Ndina mukoma enemhasuru anotemba hondo— padiki padiki anetsana nevamwe...Mhasuru dzinoda pfungwa (I have a strong and muscular brother who is always needlessly fighting other people because he is all brawn and no brain).

In the same song he also advises security agents never to underestimate the power of the people.

“Varipo vatete vane mangoromera/vakatsonga-tsonga asi vachicheka karate, ivavo hamusi kuvaziva. Zvikanzi monya/porisi/musoja hazvirevi hondo, asi zvinodawo pfungwa,” goes part of the song.

Given the factionalism currently ripping apart the ruling Zanu PF party, Sulu’s song “It’s not necessary” is very apt. No day passes without the so-called G-40 (reportedly fronted by Higher education minister Jonathan Moyo and Local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Team Lacoste, supposedly led by Vice President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, exchanging insults in all forms of media.

“It’s not necessary kutukana tukana pamberi pevana... pasocial media... kubatana pahuro pane vaenzi it’s not necessary... but together as one... peace for ever...we are all Africans,” sings Sulu in ““It’s not necessary.”

Suluman’s song, “Error,” suggests that most of the challenges facing the country are self-inflicted and can be resolved if they are addressed in the right way.

“Kuvhura bara kuvhara nemakarimwa, mavhunga ari imomo achakuvhiringa... uchachema nani...” goes part of the song.

He goes on to imply that head (Government) is now bigger than the body (people.) The song aptly captures the reality on the ground where the leaders are getting richer while ordinary people are getting poorer.

He sings: “Musoro wakura kudarika body and...ipapo paita error....”

It is not surprising that radio stations are not playing most of the politically candid tracks on Jamboree. Predictably, the most played song on the album “Alice Mbewe,” s song Sulu performed when a woman bearing the same name lost a child while merrymaking during a concert by the dendera artiste at Dugane Farm last year.

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