Chipanga takes the bull by the horns

Oliver Shambira


IN a rare display of bravado, sungura music icon Hoseah Chipanga this week mustered the courage to take his crusade against the burgeoning rot obtaining in the country to the highest echelons of government.

The stage was the pre-Independenc

e Day ball thrown for diplomats, the inner circle of President Robert Mugabe and other cherry-picked guests at the Harare International Conference Centre on Monday.

The performance by the sungura icon all but dispelled illusions that the top man presiding over the fate of the country was so insulated from his people that he was unaware of the unbecoming errant behaviour of his cabinet.

After a somewhat philosophical song admonishing government over failure to heed calls not to “sell ater” (blaming it for the successive droughts), Chipanga took his crusade into overdrive on Kutendeuka, a song laced with lyrics which lash out at the self-serving reminders of the exploits of those in government in the liberation struggle.

Chipanga rightly pointed out that the reminders are as good as bringing the populace under servitude yet again.

But the lanky man from Manicaland was not done. He had apparently saved his best for last.

Gushungo opens with praises for Mugabe who he said is lampooned for other people’s sins.

Chipanga takes potshots at leaders privileged to access maize, flour and fuel among other essentials, but  who prejudice the country by diverting these to the black market and other markets across the borders.

He did not spare the greedy who have amassed for themselves multiple farms in breach of government’s stated position and bankers who have since taken flight after their nefarious activities were exposed.

The musician, a rare breed in the face of a deteriorating economy, has been hailed as a voice for the voiceless.

Where many have baulked, he has taken the bull by the horns — composing songs that seek to whip into line truant leaders at the obvious peril of being blacked out on national radio and television.

Though not quite clear, many of his songs are seen as protests, albeit delivered tongue in cheek.

Ironically, while the music was blaring away, the inner pith of the leadership, a good number of whom were fingered in the scams as government battles a devastating economic meltdown, was getting down to it on the dance floor.

Musicians, the personalities expected to give vent to people’s desires and emotions, have mostly been cowed into silence for fear of being blacklisted while those who have dared to speak for the voiceless like Leonard Zhakata have had to rely on

their ingenuity in marketing their works owing to a wide berth given them by the national broadcaster which holds the monopoly of the airwaves.

Thomas Mapfumo, a darling of the ruling party prior to Independence, has had to leave the country in the wake of a fallout touched off by strident criticism of warped government policies.

The galas have become feeding troughs for pliant patriots like Last Chiangwa aka Tambaoga, Andy Brown, the incarcerated Mbuya Madhuve and Cde Chinx, among others.

These artists, regular features at state functions, have been sent smiling all the way to the bank each time a gala is held to mark public holidays.

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