No room for obscene music in Zim

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A DISTURBING, scary and shameful phenomenon has invaded the country’s arts sector.
A highly anticipated download of a piece of music, posted on a whatsapp group by a dear colleague in Australia while she travelled in a car with family members, turned horror in an instant.
High internet speed had the colleague, eager to hear music being churned out back home, just seconds after the download, scrambling desperately to shut down her phone.
A dancehall song with the most obscene lyrics describing a sadistic sexual act pervaded the vehicle.
The music industry as well as the literary world has been invaded by talented participants whose skills are misdirected and misguided.
Vulgar and obscene materials that cannot be read or played on national platforms or in a family set-up have become the rage.
These have found a platform on social media.
Some of the country’s accomplished veteran artistes expressed shame and revulsion at the obscenity.
Gospel supremo Pastor Charles Charamba said the abuse of latest technologies and applications reflected badly on us as a people.
“These are gadgets and applications that are being made nevana vevamwe vanhu, dai vana vedu vaashandisawo zvakanaka,” said Pastor Charamba.
He said, as a people, we spent huge amounts of monies procuring gadgets such as smartphones, laptops and applications yet we are abusing them.
“It’s a shame on our part that after procuring these things at a huge cost, benefitting nations that are manufacturing them, we go on to use them to spread absurdity and obscenity,” Pastor Charamba said.
“We will soon become a laughing stock, known as the nation that procures gadgets, bundles and applications to abuse.”
Artistes, especially the youths, said Pastor Charamba, must use social media responsibly.
“Let us come back to our values, uri wega ask yourself whether what you are doing is right and do not take advantage of and abuse the anonymity presented by these platforms,” he said.
Gospel godfather, the iconic Mechanic Manyeruke, said young artistes must value their culture.
“As a people we do not promote obscenity,” he said.
“Our artistes must always be constructive.
“Ngavasarasike kubva pahunhu hwedu vachitora zvinhu zvisiri zvedu.”
Arguably one of the most famous gospel artistes in the country, Baba Manyeruke said obscenity does not guarantee one fame.
“Like any other medium or technology, social media is a double-edged sword,” he said.
“The outcome of its use depends on how and for what purpose we use it.
“Zvinyadzo hazvisirizvo zvotengesa mabook or music.”
Instead of addressing issues such as drug abuse and addiction, gender-based violence, child abuse and positive developments, this new crop of artistes is bent on promoting illicit sexual behaviour and other vices.
One of Zimbabwe’s music experts, Professor Fred Zindi, said profanity posed danger to the local industry.
“This cancerous culture, which has been adopted from Jamaica and the United States, presently stands as a big threat to the fast-rising Zimbabwean music,” said Prof Zindi.
“With the proliferation of home studios these days, there is no control in what an artiste sings about once the producer agrees that it is material worth recording.
“In the past, Gramma Records and ZMC used to censor what each artiste could record because they had a reputation to protect.
“Bodyslam Records and Chill Spot Records are different.
“Quite a few youngsters seem to believe that in order to become a rising star in music, one only needs to find piercing vulgar words to sing about and that will sell lots of records.
“That is an illusion.”
The scourge, he said, threatened Zim-dancehall artistes the most.
“It is disheartening to note how artistes with talent and the potential to strike it big are fast-losing their credibility as they direct their energy towards hate and dirty lyrics,” he said.
“Obscene material has no place in Zimbabwean culture.”
Sulumani Chimbetu’s publicity manager, Joe ‘Local’ Nyamugoma, said he remembers the late Dendera maestro Simon Chimbetu cautioning young artistes to stay away from profanity if they wished to grow in the industry.
“Chopper, as Simon was affectionately known, would advise upcoming artistes to come up with messages that served society in a positive manner if they were to grow their brands,” said Nyamugoma.
The maverick Progress Chipfumo of the Sounds of the Motherland said music must have meaning and positively impact society.
He said although one of his songs has been said to border on the obscene, it describes the tragedy of the rape of children and calls for introspection.
Chipfumo said there was no room for profanity in the industry.
“There is need to register studios so that people producing materials of pornographic nature violating the laws of the land can be traced and prosecuted,” said Chipfumo.
“A few youngsters have come to me with CDs which portray obscene material,” said Prof Zindi.
“I have given them the same advice: ‘Go and play your CD to your father. If he likes it, then release it. If not, then think again’.
“I am still waiting for feedback on what their fathers said.”

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