Mukanya belongs here

THE recent assertion coming from several social and vocal quarters that Chimurenga music guru Thomas Mapfumo aka Mukanya has overstayed his welcome in Zimbabwe and that he should go back to the United States where he was in self-exile is as sick as it is absurd.

Mapfumo was born in Zimbabwe and grew up here. 
He belongs here; period!

It is interesting that not so long ago the same vocal quarters advocating for his return to America were very critical of his move there, accusing him of abandoning the struggle back home.
The same people were saying Mukanya’s protest music comprising songs mainly in Shona language was more useful and appropriate here than overseas.

I would have expected the same vocal quarters to applaud Mukanya for staying a little bit longer in the country and participating in the political, social and economic discourse.
Indeed, Mukanya’s protest art, his openness in song and even in media interviews is a plus for our day-to-day struggle to free ourselves.
I for one would like Mukanya to stay in Zimbabwe for good because circumstances that led to him abandon his motherland have changed.

He is safe and no longer receives threats as before, hence his decision to stay around for a little bit longer is commendable.
During former president Robert Mugabe’s era his songs from Corruption to Mamvemve were a thorn in the flesh for the establishment as the tunes suddenly vanished from the airwaves.
In the ensuing years, the singer lost a fleet of his posh cars which were fraudulently snatched from him by the Zimbabwe Republic Police then under former police boss Augustine Chihuri.

Mapfumo is still demanding his cars to this day and cites this as part of a cocktail of unfortunate persecutions that led him to “flee”.
In the 14 years that Mukanya stayed in America, Zimbabweans back home wished the singer would come back home to sing for them and they pleaded with him. And it was painful for the legion of his fans in Zimbabwe when he staged several concerts in neighbouring South Africa while avoiding his homeland.
But Mapfumo was to come back to Zimbabwe last year, showcasing a rare performance at the Glamis Arena in Harare that shook the nation. 

He also took this opportunity to test the waters and discovered that the political temperatures were conducive for him to live and work among his people. And today the ‘lion’ is here roaring.
Not all people like Mapfumo and that is a fact, chiefly because he is a fierce critic of the establishment, hence they would rather have him tucked somewhere between seas.

Recently, he was bitterly complaining that while piracy has killed the local music industry, he had made investigations and found that those companies reproducing pirated music copies actually belong to Zanu PF bigwigs!
It has taken Mukanya to speak truth to power and point at the real culprits, something which most artists knew but could not master the courage to spill it out.

I am confident that Mukanya can easily work from Zimbabwe like he used to do before he went into self-exile and he can even make more business that way. 
Mukanya has the contacts overseas and he has fans who adore him, so he can easily make it from here.

At 73 years old, it is time the singer settles at home and it is encouraging that he has plans to build a culture centre in Domboshava, plans which are at an advanced stage. That is commendable because we want Mukanya to impart the knowledge he has amassed over the years while he still has the energy.

The late music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi aka Tuku died at a time he was involved in a number of projects that empowered youngsters including recording dozens of duets/collaborations with upcoming musicians. He also produced musicians who were under his Tuku stable.

The national hero had also built Pakare Paye Arts Centre, a cultural institution in Norton meant to benefit artists in the country.
We still have to witness Mukanya collaborating with our youngsters; how about a duet song with Killer T, Jah Prayzah or Winky D?, this could be magic.

I find it noble that Mukanya is spending more time putting structures on his new culture centre project in Domboshava as it will empower artists.

Apart from piracy, there is a lot that Mukanya can spearhead to transform the music industry including the issue of radio stations that are blacklisting particular singers including him.
In conclusion, I believe as Zimbabweans that we should actually be sweet talking Mukanya to stay and work from Zimbabwe; he can always visit America for concerts.

There is a lot of work for Mukanya here in Zimbabwe and as one of the living musical gurus in the country after the passing on of Mtukudzi, the singer has to carry the torch and lead in the restoration of a vibrant music industry.

As for those who wish Mukanya back to America as soon as possible, please hold your horses; this man belongs here!. . . assertion that he has
overstayed misplaced