'Award Macheso a degree'

HARARE – Fans of Alick Macheso are lobbying the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) to confer an honorary doctorate on the sungura kingpin for his contribution towards development of the music industry in the country.

The social media campaign spearheaded by Tinashe Mutarisi — through his Nash Paints organisation — is aiming to get over

20 000 endorsements in the form of facebook likes to substantiate the petition before the higher learning institution.

“We want the University of Zimbabwe to give Macheso an honorary doctorate. Help Nash Paints achieve this by liking and sharing this post. We are looking for 20 thousand likes #DrAMacheso#macheso4docterate Then we take it with UZ,” reads the post on the organisation’s facebook page.

Mutarisi confirmed the development to the Daily News, saying Macheso’s contribution to the music industry and society at large is unquestionable.

“Macheso is a musician par excellence and no one can dispute that. All of his albums are popular in Zimbabwe and abroad.

“Apart from this, I respect Macheso’s passion in humanitarian work, no wonder why a big organisation such as the Red Cross engaged him as their humanitarian brand ambassador,” said Mutarisi.

“He is very passionate in trying to improve other people’s lifestyle. I once attended a funeral of his close relative in the rural areas and I can testify that all the mourners ended up praising Macheso for his big heart.”

The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society humanitarian brand ambassador, maybe owing to his background, usually identifies talent in less-privileged people such as street kids.

Born on June 10 in 1968, Macheso told the Daily News in a previous interview that his music is a reflection of what he went through in life.

“I do not dream songs or use tsotso (muti) to spruce up my career but I only sing reality. My music is a true reflection of what I have gone through in my life. Ndinorarama negitare (I live on music).

“I grew up on a farm in Mashonaland Central Province under the care of my mother. I was told that my father left her while she was three months pregnant,” Macheso said.

“He only resurfaced later when I was six years old and from there, he never came back until now.”

Macheso said his personal background played a pivotal role in shaping his career.

“My mother wanted me to have a white-collar job like teaching but judging from the situation on the ground then it was impossible. Handina kuzopedzisa chikoro sevamwe vangu and this led me to move to Harare for greener pastures.

“I started professional music when I was just 15 and bar owners used to deny me access into their clubs back then as I was under-age and this led Nicholas Zakaria to intervene and negotiate on my behalf as I was the Khiama Boys bassist,” he said.

“Since I launched my solo career in 1997, I compose each song like my first track and mainly these songs are inspired by personal experiences.”

Some of the songs that were directly inspired by his upbringing include Monalisa on Zvakanaka Zvakadaro and Baba off latest album Tsoka Dzerwendo.

Macheso said he never thought he would be ranked among the finest artistes in the region when he launched his solo career in 1997.

“My music is not meant to thrill people hence I never imagined myself being regarded among the best musicians in the country; I take it as a platform to educate and communicate with my fans,” he said.

If awarded the degree, Macheso will join the list of music gurus such as Oliver Mtukudzi and Thomas Mapfumo.

In 2001, Mtukudzi released a song Wasakara, off the commercially successful studio album Bvuma/Tolerance and it was quickly interpreted as an indirect assault on the aging former president Robert Mugabe.

The track was an instant hit; academic Fred Zindi once claimed the song’s lyrics did not go down well with some high-profile individuals in society who then retaliated by denying the superstar a University of Zimbabwe degree just to fix him.

However, Zindi went on to claim that vice chancellor of Great Zimbabwe University Rungano Zvobgo took the opportunity and went on to confer Mtukudzi — whose artistic journey can be traced back to early 1970s — with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Ethno-Musicology and Choreography in 2014.

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