Mugabe turns to Zimdancheall artistes

HARARE - Zimdancehall stars Soul Jah Love, Freeman and Seh Calaz are among several artistes who will perform at a Zanu PF youth league rally set for Mutare this Friday that will be addressed by President Robert Mugabe.

Though efforts to establish whether the artistes would be paid were unsuccessful yesterday, a respected arts personality said Zimbabwean politicians generally use artistes when seeking re-election before dumping them.

“It is sad indeed. It is only during times like these that politicians acknowledge the power of artistes. When it’s over and done, do they (politicians) care?

“Artistes get used and abused by politicians and history has shown that the music careers of Tambaoga, the late Andy Brown Simon Chimbetu, Nonsikelelo, Hosea Chipanga and Brian Mteki among others suffered in a big way after being used by the ruling party,” said the arts commentator who declined to be identified for fear of victimisation.

The same view is shared by veteran theatre director Cont Mhlanga.

In a previous interview with the Daily News, Mhlanga blamed politicians who use musicians to push a political agenda for killing music careers.

“Politicians butcher musicians’ careers because they (politicians) do not know how to use art to spread the message,” he said, adding that an artiste who does the bidding of a political party will always face consequences.

“Whenever a musician takes a side it means he or she has divided his or her fan base into two or three. Once a musician aligns themselves to a political party it means they (musicians) should only hold live concerts in areas where that particular political party has strong support.”

Mhlanga was quick to point out though that musicians should not completely detach themselves from politics but he urged them to tackle socio-political themes that affect everybody in society just like the Bhundu Boys used to do.

“The Bhundu Boys had a large fan base owing to the fact that the group tackled social politics which affect virtually everybody in the community,” he said.

Though most Zimbabwean musicians who have aligned themselves with the ruling party have suffered career declines, Soul Jah Love appears to be immune to this.

Despite at one time composing songs in praise of Mugabe and his wife, Grace, his star has not waned, at least until now.

His ability to compose hit after hit appears to have made music fans ignore his political “transgressions.”

The Zimdancehall star’s song Pamamonya Ipapo is without doubt the hit of the moment. The song has inspired many jokes on social media.

Many upstart musicians have also come up with their own renditions of the hit which have also taken the country by storm.

Pamamonya Ipapo is not the first saying from the controversial Zimdancehall artiste to go viral. His chant Hauite Hauite, generally used to express gratitude, has also become part of street lingo.

Veteran music star Chipanga has not been that lucky. Chipanga, who captured the imagination of Zimbabwean music fans thanks to a series of well-received albums such as Makomborero and Ndagaya, saw his career go downhill when he released the album Gushungo which praised Mugabe. Gushungo is the totem for Mugabe.

On the album, Chipanga portrayed Mugabe as an innocent leader being vilified due the wrongdoings of his subordinates.

SekuruTau is another artiste who suffered from associating with the ruling party.

After taking the country by storm with a scintillating brand of mbira music, SekuruTau teamed up with late Zanu PF commissar Elliot Manyika to release the track Nora which encouraged Zimbabweans to rally behind the ruling party.

The late Brown and Chimbetu, who were exceptional crowd-pullers, also paid the price for doing Zanu PF’s bidding. So bad was the situation that they could not perform in venues in opposition strongholds.

Comments (2)

Humble advisory message to all artists, especially the young ones.Don't be tempted by ZANU PF money- its blood money! How ca you associate with an organisation that has caused so much suffering and misery to other young people like yourselves? Use your talents for good, not evil.

Jonso - 13 June 2017

Artists think think think and think. Do not show your bad sides even though you are seeking survival we appreciate but be careful not to divide your base.

Ras T - 14 June 2017

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