Kutonga Kwaro sinks into oblivion?

HARARE - On November 15 Jah Prayzah’s, hit Kutonga Kwaro played in virtually every household, car and other social gatherings as the euphoria to remove former president Robert Mugabe from power hit alarming heights. But currently the song is being rejected by entertainment lovers at shows as they associate it with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s leadership which they seem to dislike.

The song became synonymous with the soft-coup which ended Mugabe’s 37-year grip on power.

Kutonga Kwaro was renamed Kutonga Kwaro Garwe in reference to Mnangagwa popularly known as Garwe or Crocodile as the song talks about the advent of a hero.

Fans fell in love with the song as they anticipated that Mnangagwa had arrived to change the old system.

From there, Mnangagwa adopted Kutonga Kwaro as his anthem and theme song for Zanu PF rallies and events.

Jah Prayzah performed the song at Mnangagwa’s inauguration and subsequent Zanu PF events.

The development did not go down well with anti-Zanu PF supporters concentrated in urban centres and as a result that strong love for the song suddenly vanished.

In urban centres, people no longer want to hear Kutonga Kwaro as they associate it with Zanu PF and they view Mnangagwa as new face for old political system.

In April, fans clearly rejected Kutonga Kwaro in Harare during Chimurenga musician Thomas Mapfumo’s Glamis Arena concert.

During an interlude a DJ was booed by fans after he played Kutonga Kwaro. He was forced to play another song instead.

Mapfumo was performing for the first time in the country after a 14-year self-imposed exile in the United States.

Rather thousands of entertainment loving people who had thronged Glamis Arena to witness Mapfumo performing enjoyed his latest song Chauya Chauya owing to its deep political undertones that overshadowed Kutonga Kwaro, which became a hit following Mugabe’s resignation in November.

The crowd responded to the politically-motivated election song by means of raising their open-palms in the air. An open palm is the opposition MDC’s political symbol.

“Yave sarudzo muZimbabwe, tave nemakore mangani muchitonga imi...chauya chauya vakomana...sarura wako waunoda...gore rino tinopedzerana...(It’s election season in Zimbabwe...how many years now while you are in power...elect yours...this year we will go for each other),” part of the song’s lyrics say.

Prior to Glamis Arena rejection, a crowd in Mutare had ordered a DJ to stop playing Kutonga Kwaro during a World Consumer Rights commemorations day.

Recently, Jah Prayzah failed to perform the song during Alick Macheso’s album Dzinosvitsa Kure launch held at Aquatic Complex in Chitungwiza.

He was smart enough to exclude Kutonga Kwaro from his playlist as he was aware of the nature of the crowd that was before him.

In Chitungwiza, Jah Prayzah at the end of his performance asked fans which song they wanted him to perform; fans went on to request his old songs and other tracks on the latest album such as Ndini Ndamubata among other.

No one requested Kutonga Kwaro a clear indication that people are no longer interested in the song.

After the lanky musician’s act, the guest of honour at the event — Arts minister Kazembe Kazembe — was booed off by fans after he pumped a fist in his bid to connect with the crowd.

Fans could be heard shouting from the floor’’ ngaabvepo munhu weZanu (Get off the stage you Zanu PF official)” while others chanted opposition MDC slogans until the minister left in embarrassment.

However, Kazembe later told our sister paper Daily News the crowd mistook his fist for Zanu PF slogan but it was meant for chiutsi-utsi a way people normally show their excitement when having fun.

Meanwhile, Jah Prayzah is working on a new album expected on the market by the end of the year.

However, it is still to be known if he is going to repeat the same political connotations as he did on Mdara Vachauya and Kutonga Kwaro.

When the song Mudhara Vachauya was released in 2016, it caught the attention of many who associated it with the then Vice President Mnangagwa in his battle to succeed Mugabe, amid serious opposition from Generation 40 (G40).

But its infectious beat and the message it carries, has coincidentally fitted well into the Zanu PF political matrix. Loosely translated, the title of Jah Prayzah’s song means “the old man is coming” although the word mudhara is street lingo used to refer to a generally superior and powerful person.

It was in this context that the Zanu PF members believe such a superior and powerful person coming was in the mould of Mnangagwa.

But to counter this assertion, the G40 latched onto the song, which was now the “theme song” at Mugabe’s rallies back then.

The rallies were being organised by the youths, as Mugabe sought to drum up support ahead of this year’s elections. Before his address, Mudhara Vachauya was played as Mugabe made his way to the podium, much to the amusement of his supporters.

But it was the catchy lyrics from the lanky musician’s song that left many with little if no doubt that the song was meant for Mnangagwa then.

Meanwhile, arts analyst Cont Mhlanga once told this publication that musicians who choose to push a certain political party’s agenda should tread carefully.

“Whenever a musician takes a side it means he or she has divided his or her fan base into two or three.

“Once musicians aligned themselves to political parties it means then they should only hold live concerts in areas where those political parties have strong support,” he said.

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