CHIMURENGA guru, Thomas Mapfumo and music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi’s perceived battle for supremacy is likely to be tested tonight, observers have noted, as the music titans are hot favourites to scoop the most outstanding musician’s acc
olade since Independence, in the National Arts Merits Awards’ Silver Jubilee category.
Other contestants pitted with the duo are Stella Chiweshe, Clive Malunga, Mechanic Manyeruke, Dick Chingaira and the late Safirio Madzikatire, Leonard Dembo and Simon Chimbetu.
By earning the awards observers say Mapfumo and Mtukudzi would have been equally rated and thus put at par in all spheres of their musical contribution to the country. The Nama Silver Jubilee awards are aimed at recognising artists who have excelled in a given artistic genre and whose works have added value, growth and development to the arts sector.
Contacted for comment this week on the rivalry, Mtukudzi dismissed the claims arguing that such perceptions are baseless because he has worked with the chimurenga star since time in memorial: “Tanga waita research yako zvakanaka. Hakuna zvakadaro, zvinongotaurwa nevanhu asi hakuna zvakadaro. Kana nyaya yekuti ndakasarudzwa for that award handiizivi ndirikutonzwa kubva kwauri.” (You must first of all do your research properly. The said rivalry does not exist; it’s all speculative talk by some people but there’s nothing like that happening. I’m not even aware that I was nominated for that award. I’m hearing it from you).
Cuthbert Chiromo, Mapfumo’s manager, also dismissed the alleged feud. “They’re many stories and theories told about the two,” he said. “There’s no bad blood between them, for your own information when Mtukudzi toured Albany, Oregon in the US in 2003, Mukanya took his family along to watch him (Mtukudzi) performing. Mtukudzi even wears T-shirts inscribed with Mapfumo’s face and a week ago Mapfumo, himself asked me to get Tuku’s T-shirts so he can wear them during his performances as well.” Efforts to contact Mapfumo on his US mobile number were unsuccessful.
However, Mapfumo might be sidelined at the awards ceremony owing to his trenchant political lyrics, which have openly challenged the existing political, social and economic order, thus paving way for fellow chimurenga artist, Stella Chiweshe or Safirio Madzikatire.
Independent Xtra was this week told that the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, under whose auspices Nama is run, had over the past few weeks been caught in a Catch 22 situation in coming up with the Silver Jubilee nominees whose list was only released last week.
The adjudicator’s panel comprises people like filmmaker, Stephen Chigorimbo, who heads the committee and Walter Muparutsa. The adjudicators ironically appear on the same nominees list they prepared.
Mtukudzi and Mapfumo have emerged as arguably the best
musicians the country has
ever produced, with each boasting of a career spanning more than two decades.