The Music Chimurenga

Musicians playing to Mugabe's tune

The Music Chimurenga Musicians, recruited to promote the government’s controversial land reform programme, have found that their new message is angering fans.
Andy Brown used to be the rising star of Zimbabwean music, popular for his social critique as well as his songs. When Mugabe instructed the media to blacklist musicians known to be critical of the government, Brown was the first musician banned. Less than a year later, the people of Harare were stunned to hear him stating: “I support the land distribution program because I think it is right and just.” He became the poster boy for the ‘Third Chirmurenga’ albums and CDs, a government endorsed programme praising their policies. However, this turn of heart disgusted his fans and his popularity quickly evaporated. The album flopped, concerts were cancelled and supporting musicians left the band. “People don’t attend his shows anymore. They don’t want to touch him with a broomstick,” states social commentator Taurai Chibuwe. It seems that Zimbabwe’s musicians have learnt “If you sleep with dogs, you end up with fleas.”

Produced by SBS Australia

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