By Fidelis Manyange
WHY is it that some musicians in this country have been attacked physically, verbally or emotionally for being patriotic and hailing the country’s leadership?
Recently Congolese Rhumba musician Antoine Christophe Agbepa Mumba, popularly known as Koffi Olomide, torched a storm after chanting President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s name in the song ‘Patati Patata’, a collaboration with Zimbabwe’s Rockford ‘Roki’ Josphat and Tanzania’s Rayvanny.
The song, produced by Zimbabwe’s renowned producer Prince ‘Oskid’ Tapfuma, became an instant scorcher and has amassed over five million views on YouTube.
Koffi is an African brother, praising an African leader who was democratically elected – a leader of a revolutionary party which fought the whiteman in order to liberate and reclaim stolen land.
Koffi knows well that his ancestors were also victims of the whiteman.
In fact, every African is a victim of the Scramble for Africa by Western powers.
But back to Zimbabwe: The late Simon ‘Chopper’ Chimbetu was lambasted after producing the album Hoko in 2009 which was in support of the Fast Track Land Reform and Resettlement Programme and the war of liberation.
The so-called private media and some in our midst launched a campaign discouraging fans from attending his shows or buying his music.
This affected him negatively.
Reverend Tapera Toggy Chivaviro of the ‘Ebenezer’ fame, who did the chanting on the song ‘Hoko’, was spared because people were not aware it was him.
In a statement and in response, Chimbetu said: “I fought in the liberation war and still think of my comrades who died in my arms.
They never fought for their own families alone but they fought so that Zimbabweans can repossess what had been taken away from them by the whites.
I look at the opposition parties across Africa, just as I look at all new things that come up, and I realise that they have no base.
I am a revolutionary and what I see in most of our opposition parties is a group of people who have no foundation, they can’t think on their own.”
Indeed, Chimbetu had no regrets.
He never made it a secret that he was a staunch ZANU PF supporter and even claimed to have gone to Tanzania to train as a guerilla and fought in the Dendera area.
The late Cde Dick ‘Chinx’ Chingaira also suffered the same fate after producing Hondo Yeminda and other songs condemning the West for imposing illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The country’s dearest ‘Muzukuru’, the late Andy Brown, Cde Chinx, Last ‘Tambaoga’ Chiyangwa, the late Marko Sibanda and Fortunate ‘Sister Flame’ Matenga were also chastised for compiling an album and musical videos in support of the Land Reform Programme.
Tambaoga, for instance, became the main target of brickbats after releasing the song ‘Agirimende’ in which he rebuked Tony Blair for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe and, in the process, likening him to a blair toilet.
Since then, Tambaoga has struggled to make it back into the music industry.
The current star in the music industry, Mukudzei ‘Jah Prayzah’ Mukombe, was verbally and physically attacked for taking pride in the Zimbabwe National Army and singing at national events. Apparently, all artistes who feature at national events are deemed sellouts by the so-called independent media and opposition parties in the country.
However, no one condemned Dino Mudondo and company after they played at the Glamis Stadium when the late Morgan Tsvangirai was celebrating his elevation to Prime Minister in the then Government of National Unity (GNU).
Turning to the new dispensation, Admire Sibanda, known in the music circles as Chief Hwenje, was attacked on social media, haunted, beaten and his homestead torched after showing open support for President Mnangagwa in his songs, particularly ‘ED Pfee’.
In contrast, MDC former legislator Paul Madzore sang many derogatory songs about ZANU PF and the Government, but wasn’t harmed in any way.
Another interesting example is the late national hero Oliver Mtukudzi who was rebuked for featuring at the 2016 ZANU PF Million Man March in support of the now late former President Robert Mugabe — but he was not castigated for playing at MDC functions.
Such is the hypocrisy among some people.
When artistes sing about the liberation war, the evils of colonialism and those who imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, supporting the land reform as well as hailing the ruling party and its President, they are quickly dismissed as elements singing for their supper.
But is that true?
When artistes from the West do the same, they are regarded as patriots.
Are we therefore not supposed to have our very own patriotic artistes in Zimbabwe?
Food for thought!