Valiant musician, Hosiah Chipanga has urged fellow musicians to break out of their cocoons and sing songs that overtly support the revolution against the President Robert Mugabe-led government.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
The Mutare-based singer said artists should not sit on their laurels and watch citizens fight a lone battle against the government. He said it was high time artists voiced their concerns against the economic meltdown, social unrest and injustice in the country.
Zimbabwe has been rattled by a spate of anti-government protests since the beginning of the month.
Known for his scathing political lyricism, Chipanga told The Standard Style on Friday that musicians — whom he described as “mere chancers” — were unworthy of the respect accorded to artists as they prioritised personal gains over social commentary.
“When one is an artist, it is inevitable that they comment or sing about such issues because it also affects them and they should serve as mouth pieces,” Chipanga said.
“The industry has some who are mere chancers and only focusing on entertainment because real artists cannot be subtracted from national issues; vamwe varipabasa chete [some are just working].”
Chipanga — who has suffered the consequences of releasing “politically incorrect songs” through snubs from national events and State-controlled radio station — said although it was risky, artists should not be deterred.
“It is very risky and we could be arrested but one has to make that choice so as to help out in the situation; that is where the difference between an artist and other people is seen because everyone has a voice and can sing but not all are artists,” he said.
With his recent album titled Gamba making little impact since its release two months ago due to lack of airplay and publicity, the musician is at least happy that finally, his lyrics are in sync with the status quo.
“I was always in front and I had always done an analysis but some thought I was mad and taking drugs. But today I am happy my lyrics suit what is happening,” he said.
Chipanga could not, however, be drawn to name some of the musicians whom he accused of remaining silent.
Meanwhile, in an unprecedented act of bravery, some gospel musicians took to social media to voice their disgust over injustices in the country.
Those in clear support of Pastor Evan Mawarire of the #This Flag campaign, include Pastor G (real name Stanley Gwanzura) and Mudiwa Mutandwa.
“His arrest and detention is travesty of justice in Zimbabwe. A justice system skewed in favour of repression and fear. We are praying for you Pastor Evan Mawarire,” wrote Pastor G on his Facebook page.
On Friday the Mabiribobi singer also advised people to “pick a side” on his page, which has almost 5 000 followers.
“There is no neutral stance. We cannot choose to be on the fence. It is time to pick a side, are you for good or for evil? Are you for God or the devil? Are you for human rights or against human rights?
“Are you for violence or for peace? As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord. Stand for peace and not violence. Demand our rights and not be quiet when evil things happen around. I choose to pray and seek God. I choose righteousness and justice. There is no middle ground,” he wrote.
Gospel rapper Mudiwa Hood concurred: “Do you know why this man Pastor Evan is loved and why 100 lawyers volunteered to represented him for free? He seems to have the nation at heart and genuine issues that even respectable ranks address corruption and poverty.”
“I did my part as a responsible citizen… I voiced (sic) my voice because this has nothing to do with my career, but my life, my future and the future generations, our kids,” he said while decrying the “abuse” of those not commenting.
“I have witnessed abuse of other celebs…it is not right…yes, they are popular figures but most importantly, they are citizens and they have a right to choice too, is it not the freedom we [care] all vying for?” he quizzed.
Venerated songstress Shingisai Siluma penned a song in celebration of Mawarire’s exoneration from incarceration on Wednesday night. Siluma’s video of the song has gone viral on social media platforms.
Unlike Western celebrities who usually voice their concerns on societal issues, local arts giants are largely passive regardless of widespread outcry from their fans to air out their views on the country’s goings on.