From trumpeter Hugh Masekela‘s mournful ode to migrant workers “Stimela (Coal Train)” to blues poet Gil Scott-Heron‘s “Johannesburg” and reggae prophet Bob Marley‘s lament “War”, music has played an integral part in Africa’s fight against the injustices of colonialism and apartheid. In Zimbabwe’s struggle against white settler colonialism the situation was no different. Musicians like Stella Chiweshe, The Bhundu Boys, John Chibadura, Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi and others provided the soundtrack the revolution.
“Underlying all Zimbabwe culture is our on-going battle for justice, the concept of Chimurenga (taken from the Shona word for ‘struggle’ or ‘outcry’)”, says writer Alexander Fuller. It’s a concept that seeps and speaks through the writings of Dambudzo Marechera (House of Hunger) and Yvonne Vera (Stone Virgins), the compositions of Thomas Mapfumo, the plays of Daves Guzha (The Two Leaders That I Know) and many others.
Today marks the troubled country’s independence from colonialism in 1980. Sadly, 32 years on Zimbabwe, once a beacon of promise, resembles nothing of a free state. So to honor this day, we’ve compiled a list of some jams criss-crossing the old-school and the new of resistance from the troubled nation.
Happy Independence Zimbabwe, aluta continua, the struggle continues.