After the talk…

After the talk…

….comes the walk.

Seriously I think we have had just about enough of Brexit. In 15 hours from now, the hullabaloo will fizzle out and the anger (that sadly led to the killing of the gorgeous MP) will have to be directed somewhere else, I wonder where?

To all Britons out there, decide quick and lets get it over and done with.

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Zimbabwean music is dead?

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For a long time I have been meaning to write this piece. I was stuck in an ambivalence of whether it would come out as a good piece of writing or simply a vent of my own anger to something I hold dearly in my life. I was (and still am) not sure how my thoughts on the matter below would be treated by the many music lovers in my home.

Well, I decided, since I have my own blog, I might as well. I mean, thats why I created it in the first place. Besides the hunger in my ears to hear something musically uplifting and great, it is the cold outside keeping me inside the house. And with time on my hands,  why not share with you my thoughts on the dying industry in my country and my opinion on how we can wake it from the slumber it has taken.

In a few years from now, Zimbabwe’s music industry will be dead.

There will be no ‘worth-the-listen’ musician in this land but remnants of times gone by when it was ‘promising’. I put that in inverted commas because it was such like building a rocket that looked beatiful in all appearances but failed to launch because the engine and turbines could not fire. Such is what befell upon us.

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And in a few years from now, there will be no internationally recognised artist that will command great listernership and produce great works of art such as that we have experienced, seasonally, in the past. At present, we pride ourselves with one relic from the past, Oliver Mtukudzi who has had more than 50 albums to his repetoire. With him gone (this is not a jinx on his life in anway whatsoever) there will be nothing to write home about.

He still remains, as if he is the last surviving pillar in a heavily dilaptidated house, that connects us to a greater music heights. Inevitably, his removal from the scene, will see a total destruction of a music scene that once was, on the brink of thriving.

Today it is just a shadow of what it was, a pure waste of time and effort.

I grew up with music, our house had much of it. My dad’s collection, Led Zeppellin, Billy Segal, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Stimela, just to name a few, made up my foundation of knowing true quality music when its played.

Zimbabwean music wasn’t as far off always, we had our moments.

When ‘Bundu Boys opened for Madonna for three nights at Wembley Stadium in 1987 playing to a crowd of 240 000 at the personal request of the Material Girl herself’ According to a report from Allmusic.com, it seemed we were set as a music powerhouse. Sadly, it was short lived. The Guardian described the band as overnight start and a fall, ‘ equally dizzying’

It might be the fact that the lead singer for the greatest band ever to emerge from the country, hung himself? Is it too scary and weird when you make it to the top of world music? We can never know. The quick rise and fall, still haunt us to date.

The fact of the matter is this, all the artists we ever had before that showed promise, only did so as far as within the region and continent. Having shows in Europe and US sadly does not guarantee the music to be of top notch and if Tuku stops singing today with all his African recognition, the small ray of light he holds will be exstinguished.

Efforts from bands like Mokoomba can be felt, only time can tell. The rest however, need to either forget the whole trade or simply continue to forge an existance through their music by playing within the country and region for lousy earnings. Which does us no good at all.

The main problem is this. Upcoming Zimbabwean musicians want to be too sophisticated, but they fail. Their brand of urban hip hop and rap music is mediocre and cannot compare in anyway to the yardstick measurement of the true origins of these genres. They have created, in their own mind, the same music but blame other external factors for their failure to fly high. I beg to differ. The music is rubbish. There is nothing to it, embarassing to say the least.

I have had this conversation before with friends and colleagues, we all seem to agree upon one thing, creating our own brand like how South Africans created Kwaito. We are stuck on cheap immitations of genres we cant comprehend and it shows by the way none of these so called urban musicians within the country have hardly worked with no one other than themselves.

I have been trying hard not to mention names and stay on my argument as much as I can but allow me to mention a few names that have upheld a true form of mediocrity.

Listening to ExQ (Enoch Munhenga) rap ridicules the art form itself. He talks! And the shallowness of his work is amazing for an artist aiming for the top.

Sanii Makhalima, who has received numerous accolades within the country, could try sing a little softer, he lacks in voice dynamics (something well taught at music school) and if only he could try sing in English a few times more, he could attract a much wider audience. He too blew his own trumpet too quick and is well remembered within the urban setting with very few deliverables to tak about.

Roki (Rockford Josphat) had promise, which was sadly taken away by women, alcohol and the many kids he fathered. In the end it left him. Read about the man here. He tried to bring in a ‘swag’ of some sort but when it is mixed with controversy and a tainted public image, it all fell into oblivion.

I cannot even begin to talk about Nox, Maskiri, Leonard Mapfumo (just to mention a few) who I find surprisingly being mentioned to as artists. For they lack the study in the genre they pride themselves to be masters of.
Kumbie Shoniwa said in detail in the article
‘The rise and fall of Urban Grooves in Zimbabwe’ and you can read it here

And if you thought I have a thing against the ‘urban groovers'( oh, I have issues with this title, just so you know), other genres have simply fallen apart and seem to be doing nothing at reversing the fortunes of the country.

We can’t however pin our hopes on ‘sungura’ to put Zimbabwe on the map as it would be the same as pinning the hopes of South African Music on maskhandi, the two are trademarks but only as far as our borders.

We can however talk of Cassper Nyovest (SA), AKA (SA), Davido (Nigeria), Burna Boy (Nigeria), Youssou n’dour (Senegal), Salif Keita (Mali) – you get the drift here, who can really put a country on the map enough to command collaborations and performances such as those fateful night in Wembley Stadium. This is what we lack.

The flame dies daily as radio disc jockey’s and entertainment journos applaud crap and feed the masses with it. Be it through lack of material or by coercion (a few beers can do), the spirit is simply fading. Then again it might be the marketing of such a product that is lacking as the two co-exist and cannot do without the other.

Maybe its time we start looking at reggae as our way out, provided we can cultivate the same passion for the genre just like the Carribeans do. Other than that, we will just be doing what we have known best to do, celebrate our own failures.

We need artists of callibre, who have guts to explore new frontiers in world music. There seems to be a lack in effort in makingn marketable material in Zimbabwe and because music has largely been seen as a hobby rather than a business, many artists have put it to rest after a few critics.

I still hold dearly, the opinion that we can still bring back the glory of the Bundu Boys. One part of my mind is trying not compare the downfall of the economy with that of the arts but many great music has been forged out of hardships, maybe we just need to sing about ours and the world will listen.

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‘Music is the ear of the prophets, the only art that can calm the agitations of the soul’ Martin Luther (1483- 1546)

What do you think of our situtation, do we have what it takes to carve a name in world music?

Beauty to cost more in Kenya!

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Kenya will, as of effect in 2017, increase the tax on cosmetics by 10% which will enable about 300 shillings to be collect by the government, to beautify other much needed areas in their country (other than their own women it seems).

Africa today sees a lot of money being thrown around for make-up, which by the end of day, gets washed up down the drain. From the simple lipstick to the fancydab powder, it seems that the price to pay for beauty is getting higher daily for Kenyan women, we might just see an outcry for wagies and salaries from them in the future. 

With all the plush things Africa as a whole consumes and does very little to edify us in any way, why not increase the tax and have you think twice before buying that small tin of nose powder.

I guess it makes sense if you look at it. The Kenyan government is tired of seeing made up faces or shall I say, covered up faces of their women and would prefer less make up?

Psst, between you and me, I guess one of these law making guys was disappointed the morning after, after all the make up was gone and realised how he had been tricked.

On a serious note, I truly believe the money can be better used elsewhere to feed or better someone’s life. A part of me wants to believe they could have pegged it even higher, seeing that we are a continent struggling with all sorts and need all the resources we can get, collectively.
Make-up is the least of our needs and if you do feel naked when you dont put it on, then why not add to the collection everytime you buy for yourself or wife (seeing that it can’t really change your looks it might change other things).

I have been privileged to meet a lot of working class women in Africa and have seen the many women persuaded into buying tonnes of make-up to better their looks when the greatest concoction of all would be a jog down the street, a couple of squats in the evening and a good old apple known since time to scare aware every little blemish on their face.

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To my many African lady friends, that notion seems to work only on Baywatch lady life guards. They can only watch the Braxtons work out but never see themselves do it.
In a country like South Africa, such a tax could do major progress to countless number of issues which seem not to have a solution at all such as droughts and poverty. We can do well if we can add a tax on polygamy as well. While in countries such as Zimbabwe, I would suggest a much higher tax (though I fear it might be an opportunity for a luxirous mansion to one kleptocrat).

Women here are well apt on the right kind of lipstick to wear while blind to their costs annually. They have been known to go for days without food while dressed in cologne and powder.

According to the Standard Newspaper,
“Kenya’s cosmetics industry is estimated to be worth 6.4bn Kenyan shillings [$63m, £43m] meaning the anticipated collections could be more than 300m shillings.’

Imagine what could be done to the poor rural child who barely knows how to put on lipstick but yearns for an opportunity to sit on comfortable bench at school. Or what this money can do to a girl who finds it hard to take care of herself during her monthly periods. This is why I see this being one of the greatest ideas in African law making ever. Why not even tax more!

With distinctive lines between the poor and rich in Africa, I rally behind this notion and pray to see higher taxes wedged on the ‘haves’ as they drive their fancy cars down the street or while they go boat cruising in in a village where they hardly have water. Such is life I guess.

While I cannot sit here and pretend that it is someone’s right to wear what they want and rightfully so, since you worked hard for it, you should be able to wear it. I guess the moral of my sorry is that, you can really do without it, but if you insist, hey, why not lend a helping hand to someone else in the process, like the homeless guy you pass by on your way to work every morning, who can see his reflection on the gloss gleaming from your lips.

This #lipsticktax is a great idea to my African home. Its yet another chance to understand that we really don’t need expensive weaves, pencils and lashes to make us any better than we already are. We are damaging the very beauty we are so proudly blessed with while using these self destructing potions and well marketed lotions that seem to work only on the chipanzees they were tested on.

I give a thumbs to every kinky or dread locked african beauty I come across with. I hail the many women that I see using less make up and trusting in their own God-given beauty. Women who, if not happy with the way their look, do not depend on a pill but sweat and tears to tone up. A situation I forsee happening in Kenya come 2017.

 

Yamato found!

While I certainly don’t agree with the notion of leaving behind your child in a forest laden with bears and extremely cold temperatures, a case of ‘time out’ gone badly. In today’s world, I believe there are instances where we might need to deploy the same strategy.

Don’t get me wrong, I detest what the Takayuki Tanooka and wife did to the young man as a sort of punishment. And even though they prevailed in teaching him a lesson, the powers that be where looking  out for the young brat, keeping him out of harm’s way till he was found the army base. Now if we can just put this happy ending little story into our own context today, I would love to see certain people (who act like children, throwing stones to the helpless and literally a pain in many people’s lives) be left in a cold and grizzly infested forest, to be forgotten and lost.

While I am no expert in life,but having gone for more the 34 living in one existence, as an African, time has come for us to be more vocal about our well being and oppose the fundamentals that takes us for fools and discard of them.

#thisflag has not only been making so much noise within Zimbabwe, it has brought back the same manner of revolution that has seen the same country being freed from colonialist oppression. We were freed, well not entirely, because we have since been exposed and made to leave under the same settings as those of our colonisers. When we thought we could attain and achieve all that we ever desire, being equally viewed in the society and not impoverished by our own folk, we thought wrong.

To date, none of my many brothers have seen better days, except only from politicians and elected leaders, who promise and don’t deliver. Who squander and keep to themselves.

Pastor Evan Mawarire has been taking the pole position in an effort of bringing the failing leaders into a political crimes forest courts for misbehaving, and calling on the rest of the country to help leave them there, for good measure. They, for long have been neglecting every call from their own people to end the suffering and kleptocracy tendencies and bring back the country to its once graceful position, that of being ahead of our many neighbors within the continent.

I have no doubt that this nature of punishment, well deserved, will gain a different reaction from the world than that given to the parents of Yamoto and I bet you, no one will go searching for the same leaders that have defecated on our freedom and prosperity for far too long, reducing the hoards of my learned countrymen to bar tenders and restaurant workers feeding the large populace of the ever growing South Africa obesity levels. Millions take to the streets daily to sell their wares and the employed only make it by shoddy deals and corrupt tendencies. Neighbouring countries are havens for the many professionals fleeing the hardships in the once was great Zimbabwe..

While I seem to worry about the #thisflag movement, on its growth and where its heading, I just can’t seem to see myself not paying attention. To what end then? I ask. Should we be taking to the streets and hold all leaders into account. Firstly, of the 15 billion dollars that is missing. I am sure it was enough to feed the many leaders within the country to an extent that it has become ‘water under the bridge’.
Secondly, to all atrocities that have been suffered by the dead and the leaving, is it what the movement should come to?

In whatever the outcome of this popular hash tag, we need to continue asking these thieves for our hard earned independence, our prosperity, our father’s retirement investments and our children’s future (not to mention our meaningless efforts in building careers), what went wrong and how they are going to fix it. It is imperative that they make it right.

Yamato was found at an army base, sleeping in a hut, unhurt and hungry. He found his way to this base, all alone and against all odds. Maybe its time our leaders start finding their own ways to the law, to be punished for their atrocities and never to return to public service.

If #thisflag does not set the tone then its up to the one above to remove the hurt and the pain in my land. For far too long we have been crying, sweat and tears and if Pastor Evan’s outcry is anything to show a change in character in a largely subdued community, then so be it.