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Majongwe releases protest music album
Henry Makiwa, The Daily News
November 12, 2002

Raymond Majongwe, the energetic, vibrant trade unionist and former soccer administrator, has stirred up yet another shocker with the release of a politically charged music album entitled Which Way Africa?

Yes, a music album.

Majongwe has been in the news in recent weeks after leading the militant Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) in nationwide to strike over pay increases.

He said he recorded the album after being inspired by his persecution by the government.

He said: "After being arrested, tortured and assaulted by the police for starting an ‘illegal strike’, I simply decided to roll up my sleeves and produce a record to preserve the memories of my incarceration.

"I stand inspired by the late Nigerian Hi-Life musician, Fela Kuti and Chimurenga guru, Thomas Mukanya Mapfumo, whose sounds convey revolutionary messages," said Majongwe, who says he is an acquaintance of Mapfumo’s.

Majongwe, the PTUZ secretary-general, was last month arrested and charged for contravening sections of the notorious Public Order and Security Act when he addressed teachers at a Harare high school.

Which Way Africa? contains eleven songs aimed at interrogating the objectives and priorities of those in the higher echelons of power, as well as agitating the common people.

It contains 12 tracks which blend music and poetry extraordinarily. On most tracks, Majongwe recites satirical and thought-provoking poetry steered by a Pan-Africanist vision.

Most songs, except for the Chimurenga-laced Pindirayi, have a jazz-based beat, which provides an apt message that permeates all the songs. Throughout the album, Majongwe’s voice conjures up memories of the incarcerated South African poet Mzwakhe "The People’s Poet" Mbuli.

In a fashion reminiscent of Mbuli, the album kicks off with the poem No One.

"No one can victimise the victimised forever/No one can imprison ideas forever/Impale the people’s ideas on bayonets/You cannot suppress political views forever," Majongwe says.

The album has two songs paying tribute to Fela Kuti, Joshua Nkomo and Sally Mugabe, all now deceased but revered luminaries of Africa’s cultural and political revolution.

Majongwe says because of his album’s contents, Zimbabwean recording companies have refused to market and distribute it because "it will surely be banned".

He said: "I will soon be leaving for South Africa to arrange for some promotional deals with recording companies there. I am confident my music will be more marketable from South Africa."

With Which Way Africa? Majongwe joins Thomas Mapfumo, Zexie Manatsa, Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela, among other African artistes who have fought political repression.

Though the album is his solo debut, Majongwe says he has in the past written all songs and helped in the production of soccer giants Dynamos Football Club’s 1999/2000 album.

Majongwe is a former secretary-general of the football club.

Majongwe enlisted the skills of accomplished musicians, Isaac Chirwa, Keith Farquharson and Clive "Mono" Mkundu for his album.

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