Music Artistes Should Stand Up and Use Their Voice

By Michael Mupotaringa

Fear of victimization grips most of our artistes by the throat in Zimbabwe that’s why a lot of human rights violations go unmentioned in the art. Most of our art doesn’t depict our political status quo at all. I tell you if a kid from the year 2090 is expectant of finding ideas of 2015 history through our music, they’ll paint a rosy portrait. Pay attention to popular Zimbabwean songs for a minute.  You barely will picture a place where unemployment is escalating at staggering rates amongst other ills.

I listen to a lot of good hip-hop from Immortal Technique amongst other conscious hip-hop and it has taught me a lot of Black American history. It has given me hints on topics I later researched further. I believe a dimension of music that passes history in that way must exist in every country. It is a touchy topic but that’s the more reason it should happen because ideas are hard to kill once they start spreading. The crucifixion of Jesus did not stop Christianity from rising. He had not much earthly possessions mentioned about him yet today men that have all that follow his ideas, religiously or as philosophies. The same applies for Socrates and many others who died for their beliefs.

Creative souls are the new era’s custodians of history and truth, messengers for the propagation of general concerns of the people. We may compose party-life music all year but the reality is we’ve spent some broke weeks long after two-minute hangovers. It’s very deceptive because a lot of promised benefits are amiss in the socio-economic environment but the life lived in the lyricism depicts Las Vegas. Are the influential artistes going to speak out?

Musicians who get rotation and recognition all day like prescription pills; would they risk that airplay? Who will risk character assassination by mainstream scandal by scandal for truth telling and perhaps a halt to the spins? Fear strangles our voice boxes, so reality cannot breathe in our music anymore. Some will argue that music will never change anything but music was a powerhouse even for the liberation of our Zimbabwe. Dozens of soccer supporters chant war cry songs to motivate their teams. Music has an influence on emotions and therefore actions. The subconscious mind is receptive to it even according to Napoleon Hills 10 stimuli (see Think and Grow Rich) add to the fact that we have heard of music being controlled and censored around the globe even by those who boast of exercising democracy.

Scores of artistes were quick to compose tons of music about xenophobic attacks in South Africa because it wasn’t an issue that would point fingers directly back home; ignoring the cause and blasting the effects. In most songs, no one dared to mention why Zimbabweans were illegal immigrants in South Africa in the first place, they simply attacked the inhumane acts of the violent criminals who tortured foreigners. To be balanced they would have probably mentioned why those foreign nationals sought work there in the first place. Of course the ones that stayed resorted to vending to keep their young ones fed.

What was wrong back home? You don’t wanna know the answer.

At the moment, we have a crisis where vendors are being violated by City Council police for their right to survive in a climate that demands dollars daily. I saw images of merchandise that was burnt and literally my eyes filled up. Are artistes going to get into the booth and stand up for what they know is right. It doesn’t matter if it’s in support of the municpal police or the vendors, we can’t dictate who they should support, but will a kid in 2090 listen to the music from 2015 and learn about these incidents, for these blogs will long have expired hosting after we die. Will we speak about it in the music for what it is with no fear of intimidation?

Let’s wait and see…

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