One of the books on display at the justended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair’s University of Zimbabwe (UZ) stand was a book titled Music in Zimbabwe written by the Zimbabwean scholar and musician Professor Fred Zindi.
Incidentally, the UZ has a publishing house which had several scholarly books on display.
Zindi’s interest in music is abiding and deep. “The objective behind writing the above book was first of all to provide ready literature about musical goings-on in Zimbabwe to students of music, radio broadcasters, music promoters, researchers, sociologists and cultural activists.
Secondly the book aims to dispel the misconceptions some members of society might have about the music industry. When they read some of the positive stories written in this book, they will think twice. And, thirdly, music is a powerful form of expression. Musicians are as good as politicians. They are the voice of the people when they write songs which express the sentiments of the ordinary people. This is one of the objectives behind the writing of this book,” he explained to the Independent Extra.
Zindi is arguably one of Zimbabwean music’s afficianados. One of the prominent members of a generation of musicians who dominated the airwaves at the heady dawn of this country’s independence alongside the likes of the late gifted singer-songwriter Gideon Neganje (of the Pied Pipers), Fungai Malianga and the ebullient Harare Mambos.
Zindi’s insider take on most of Zimbabwe’s top musicians past and present is a useful guide to understanding the diversity of the talent that has graced the entertainment arena stretching some 50 years back. Offering his thoughts on the current crop of musicians he says: “They are very progressive. They are learning how to conduct business at an international level and are catching up fast.
The quality of their music has improved tremendously in recent years.They have to continue to work hard through writing original and relevant material to get international recognition. They certainly will get there. It is a matter of time.”
Zindi’s book offers a kaleidoscope of music personalities. The year 2000 marked a watershed with the introduction of the 75% local content stipulation of which Professor Zindi was one of the lobbyists. “The 75% local content policy is a positive one. Many local musicians bemoan lack of airplay. If you insist on the DJ playing local content, he might give those musicians a chance.”
Music in Zimbabwe is available at the University of Zimbabwe bookshop where Professor Zindi lectures in educational psychology.