South Africa-based Zimbabwean Afro-soul singer Shame “Shamie” Mabvudzi says arts play a pivotal role in addressing societal ills.
By Moses Mugugunyeki
Shamie of the yesteryear Shamie and Nathan duo has embarked on a programme to campaign against child marriages. He is working in collaboration with South African performance poet Haroldene Tshienda.
“Child marriages predominantly affect girls who live in poverty and in rural areas. The less-education a girl has, the more she is likely to marry during her childhood,” Shamie said in an interview with The Standard Style.
We hope to bring awareness to communities so that they respect children’s rights and enhance education, peace and respect among societies. It’s a campaign that I started with Tshienda after noticing the effects of early child marriages”.
Shamie, who is now based in Cape Town, was in Zimbabwe a fortnight ago to kickstart a pilot programme in Kambuzuma, Harare with hope of spreading it to other parts of the country.
“We started in Kambuzuma because that’s where I was born and we wanted to start from a familiar territory. The community was happy to see us campaigning against such societal ills. We felt loved when we visited schools, where we spoke to pupils about the importance of education and self-respect,” he said.
During his Zimbabwean campaign Shamie was with Tshienda, who he is working with in South Africa.
“Tshienda is a performance poet and author. We are artistes creating social cohesion through arts. We address social issues through music and poetry,” he said.
Shamie said his move to South Africa helped to improve his music career and he does not regret joining the “Great Trek” to the south of the Limpopo.
“I left Zimbabwe in search of a better life and opportunities. I am having lots of live shows here and I have created a good following for myself. My music is well-received, which is good for an artist. I incorporate motivational speaking and music on my sets,” he said.
The Zimbabwean singer who has been nominated for the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards for the best artist to be held this month in Johannesburg, had the privilege of performing live in the South African parliament, a feat many artistes, including South Africans, have failed to reach.
“Early this year I was nominated as one of the most inspiring motivational Zimbabwean personalities living in Cape Town and I have performed at several festivals, including sharing the stage with Oliver Mtukudzi twice this year,” he said.
Shamie, who has released three albums in his music career, said he was yearning to perform live in Zimbabwe.
“If a promoter comes along and asks me to perform in Zimbabwe I’ll take it up straight away. I have not performed in Zimbabwe for 12 years and it’s something that I am looking forward to,” he said.
“The arts industry in South Africa is more organised than back home. Maybe it’s because of the economic challenges facing Zimbabwe”.
On the early child marriages campaign, Shamie is partnered by Africa Unite, a human rights organisation, Dharican Street Gear, a clothing company, Shamstone Production and Entertainment, all based in Cape Town, as well as Mutare-based Kenako Trust.
Shamie said in September, he walked from Simon’s Town to Cape Town as part of a campaign against early child marriages. He said apart from that, he was working with Tshienda in poor communities of Cape Town, reflecting on the dangers of HIV and Aids.
“We engage orphans, people living with HIV and Aids and the unemployed. Mostly, we do this using music and poetry,” he said.