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the regime: Majongwe sings what he likes
January 31, 2007
audio file details
Majongwe also reads what he likes when not in the studio
December 16 2005, outspoken Zimbabwean trade unionist and musician
Raymond Majongwe, made his way back to Zimbabwe from Nigeria where
he had been attending the 14th ICASA AIDS conference. Little did
he know what the government had in store for him on arrival at Harare
International Airport? When he landed the Zimbabwean authorities
seized Majongwe's passport accusing him of being a sellout and peddling
lies about the country.
has lost count of the number of times he has been arrested by the
Zimbabwean authorities, said he couldn't believe what happened
to him. "I asked them: what is a sell out? How do I sell a
commodity I do not control"?
To add insult
to injury after getting his passport back from the Zimbabwean authorities,
Majongwe was denied a visa to travel to the United Kingdom by the
British Embassy in Harare.
In the song
Of Passports & Visas on Majongwe's new music
album called I Sing What I Like, the activist musician
said he was trying to make sense of the Zimbabwe and British governments.
They are opposed to one another but together they, "connive
and agree" in denying him an opportunity to travel. listen
to audio file
The title of
Majongwe's new album is clear enough to scare some Zimbabwean musicians
who have censored themselves from being the voice of the voiceless.
Some say that musicians in Zimbabwe do not generally sing what they
like because they want to make sure that they stay on the "right
side" of the regime. However, he praised musicians like Leonard
Zhakata who, despite the current political challenges, have not
minced their words and continued to record songs that reflect the
views of the people. Some of Zhakata's songs have allegedly been
banned on state radio.
One would expect
that the release of Majongwe's eighth album would see him entering
the local music charts but for Majongwe, this is still a dream.
His previous albums have not seen the light of day on the national
continue doing what I think is right and I will continue singing
what I like at what ever cost, or price that has to be paid",
Majongwe said on being asked what had been the inspiration in recording
his new album. He added, "I was trying to send a message that
I am not going to apologize for what I believe in. I am not going
to be apologetic about my thoughts, about my opinions and experience."
In his song
It's Not Easy Majongwe warns that the road to freedom
won't be a walk in the park. The song Sekuseduze
comments on the fact that it is always darkest before dawn. Majongwe
said, "People must be reminded that no regime can have its
hand on a boiling pot forever". listen
to audio file
is a song that warns people who "promote violence, brutality
and barbarism" that they will be accountable someday and everyone
will know the truth. listen
to audio file
Thomas Mapfumo as being his greatest influence. He also gets inspiration
from the self proclaimed South African 'people's poet' Mzwakhe
Mbuli and the late legendary Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
In a show of admiration for Fela, Majongwe recorded a song called
Fela on his debut album titled Which Way Africa.
Speaking about the challenges he faces Majongwe said many promoters
have not been keen to work with him for fear of government reprisals.
He added that music shops and flea markets are reluctant to sell
his music because they fear that state agents will come and confiscate
to audio file
But the jovial
Majongwe is optimistic that Zimbabwe will one day be free. Having
recently returned from a visit to the United States, he described
the trip as an "eye-opener. "I was shocked that people
can go to the president's house and shout what they want,"
he said laughing.
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