Exiled Zimbabwean music legend Thomas “Mukanya” Mapfumo has admitted that he has let down the people of Zimbabwe by his continued failure to perform on home soil since his last show in 2004.
BY SILENCE CHARUMBIRA
Mukanya has been domiciled in Michigan in the United States since then and has unsuccessfully tried to come back, with his closest shows to home being in neighbouring South Africa and Mozambique.
In his end-of-year message to Zimbabwe last week, Mukanya said it was saddening that he had let down the people of Zimbabwe, adding that his failure to perform in the country was due to “some technicalities beyond his control”.
“Wherever we performed this year, we drew huge crowds, a testimony that our music is the music for the people and therefore we will continue producing music for the people. It is, however, saddening that once again I have let the people of Zimbabwe down after making countless promises to perform in my country of birth,” said Mukanya.
“Our failure to perform in Zimbabwe was due to some technicalities beyond our control and we are working flat out to make the Zimbabwe welcome back shows a reality.
“We are working with some local promoters who are eager to have us perform in Zimbabwe in 2016 and we will be announcing the dates once everything has been finalised.”
He expressed gratitude to fans, the media, promoters and record companies for their support in 2015 and said Chimurenga music was a movement that sought to “unite the people of Zimbabwe and the world at large to live in peace, fighting oppression, subjugation and undemocratic practices through music”.
“We started this music during the liberation struggle as we fought white domination and oppression, and have continued over the years fighting for the people through our music,” he said.
He lamented that his 50th album Danger Zone released in February last year that articulated the struggles of the poor people, calling for unity and an end to war that was threatening to end global existence, had not given him any monetary returns as it was largely pirated.
“It is the realisation that music is a powerful tool in society and us as musicians will continue using the tools at our disposal to spread the message of love and unity in the societies we live in. The album Danger Zone was, however, hit by piracy, and as a result we did not get anything from the sales of that album. As musicians we continue bearing the burden of production costs while others are just reaping where they did not sow,” he said.
“We will continue calling on the responsible authorities to help us in the fight against piracy so that we also realise our worth. In other countries, there are stiffer laws against piracy and us as a nation, we should also embrace such to make sure that we protect our musicians to continue entertaining the nation.
“Let’s declare 2016 a war against piracy. It needs the support of government and law enforcement agents.”
He said 2015 had been busy and he had the honour of being invited to perform at various important international platforms, “an indication that Chimurenga music is not just a Zimbabwean brand, but an international brand that has been endorsed globally”.
“We are grateful to the government of Mozambique for inviting me and my group to perform at their Defence Forces Day, a befitting honour in my musical career. This also goes to the provincial government of Limpopo, South Africa for inviting us to participate at the Mapungugwe Arts Festival where I shared the stage with old friends like Hugh Masekela and other youngsters like Joe Thomas,” said Mukanya.