Bulawayo-based jazz maestro Jeys Marabini has spoken about his pain after his band was pelted off the stage during President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration by a section of the crowd that did not want him to sing in IsiNdebele.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
Jeys was part of a cast of local artists that entertained the crowd at the National Sports Stadium in Harare as Zimbabweans celebrated long-time ruler, Robert Mugabe’s departure.
The crooner yesterday took to Facebook to lament the intolerance shown by the rowdy elements.
“When we took to the stage to serenade the multitudes with the musical performance that we had prepared for this historical event [and] as we began to sing our Ndebele songs that the organisers of the event invited us knowingly that we sing such songs, part of the crowd began to catcall at us ‘hatinzwi Ndebele’, meaning we do not understand IsiNdebele,” he wrote.
Jeys said missiles, mostly “beverage cans and plastic bottles, among other items” rained on the stage.
“Upon noticing that my band members were being pelted and that the organisers were not addressing the crowds and bringing order, I took it upon myself as the leader of the Jeys Marabini and Kozekulunge Band to restore order and address the hooligans,” the musician wrote.
The award-winning artist decried the tribalism, which he said was a spoiler at an event that was meant to unite a divided country.
“It’s so painful that after 37 years of attaining independence as a nation, we are still having this kind of a problem of tribalism,” he wrote.
“As a musician, I believe that music builds bridges and unites people.
“It is critical that this issue be addressed in this new Zimbabwe and failure to do so will mean we have a problem as Zimbabweans.”
Artists based in Matabeleland often complain that they are marginalised based on their language and are not given equal opportunities in Zimbabwe.