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P. BAG 9055 Gweru Zimbabwe Telephone: (263) 54 260404/260337/260667 Fax: (263) 54 260233/260311
Faculty of Social Sciences Department of Media and Society Studies
MODULE: NAME Sasha Nhara Eddington Nhika Davison Majaya Desdemona Manyere Sheron Mawoni
MSS102 – Media in Zimbabwe REG N# R104655E R103342A R103176Q R103726H R103465 J PROGRAM MSS MSS MSS MSS MSS LEVEL 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 MOE PDP PDP PDP PDP CDP
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND THE GOVERNMENT IN COLONIAL AND POST INDEPENDENCE ZIMBABWE
This paper seeks to expose that the origins and or causes of this ambivalent relationship were and are wholly dependent on the messages conveyed by the artist. things or situations. the writers shall define the key terms of the motion and thus redefine the question in simpler terms.The relationship between the music industry and the government has been an ambivalent affair right from the emergence of the music industry in the Colonial era. durable and usable waves sustainable from retails shops and record bars” and the radio stations which deliver the finished product to a wider listening public. . in both periods there existed music that was neutral in it’s message and did not incur the wrath of the censor but also that of the “bad” kind. that is. the manner of relationship was based upon whether or not the musicians’ messages were in agreement with the governments ideology. that is to say. the music industry was polarized on ideological lines. Rhodesia. For a better understanding of the task at hand. the musicians . Government refers to a group people controlling or directing the public affairs of a city. the motion redefined would read as. The music industry as stated by Chikowero(2001:3) is “a combination commercial business and creative human activity…It consists of… musicians. well into post independence Zimbabwe. a connection between persons. that which questioned the governments’ socioeconomic and political ideology. In both eras there existed what the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato called “ good music” and ” bad music”. country or state. recording companies which produce the music in the form of tangible . A relationship is as according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary second edition (1990).That is to say. that is to say. the colonial and post independence eras. Thus. The writers shall endeavour to highlight that in both periods. discuss the connection between the commercial business and creative human activity pertaining to music as a commodity and the people governing the state from 1896 to 1979 and 1980 to the present. that is.
“Religious authorities of many denominations took control of education in Southern Rhodesia’s rural areas and imposed European religious and aesthetic values on Africans and condemned Traditional forms of expressive culture.” (Bender. malignant and antiChristian. in his 1976 book. the church had viewed African musical traditions. 1991:159. The Soul of Mbira. “In line with shifting . and finding himself placed in a urban sprawl with new sounds and experiences. notes that.Kaufmann (1972) asserts that.” These acts of iconoclasm led Africans to discard their own form of musical expression and use of traditional instruments for a more Eurocentric mode of expression. August Musarurwa et al becoming pioneer artists.”From the earliest infiltration of Europeans in African societies in Zimbabwe. (Eyre 2001:36) Ethnomusicologist Paul Berliner.fresh out of a rural setting with all it’s nuances. “Shebeens. This state of affairs went down well with the Prudish Rhodesian regime as it meant that the traditional stories of ancient pride and prowess and tales that would highlight the African’s plight would give way to the syrupy-purely-for-entertainment European and American modes. Beer halls and entertainment halls were centres of urban musical performance in Zimbabwe. a struggle which maintained the positive relationship with the colonial government. Turino 2000:110-112) From the 1930s urban music emerged in Zimbabwe with predominantly male cultural workers like Kenneth Mattaka. For the African musicians . “the rise of Zimbabwean music was due to the influence of such institutions as mission schools. due to their ritual origins.whose traditional musical idiom was jarringly unlike the European idiom they had been forced to embrace “ the struggle was one of fusing traditional aspects with the influences in the cosmopolitan setting” (Chitando 2002:33) That simply means that for the Zimbabwean musician . De Black Evening follies. churches and military bands. the colonial government) were instrumental in promoting entertainment and in redirecting energies away from the oppression the colonial state. This view. Concerts. illegal bars that promoted the sale of illicit alcohol. Municipalities (and therefore. the process of producing music that was both urban and African and yet remained acceptable was a great struggle. in an era when the church and the government had a similar mission would have led to African musical expression being outlawed by the government. as evil. that is.
” (Eyre 2001:65) . Song.were still performing cover versions of popular European and American Rock. To this effect. 2001). Ian Smith . took a commercial direction.” Although the Rhodesian government’s methods were less hostile than those of The Nazis or the Pinochet regime of Chile. some Africans even took up ballroom dancing and the music that went with it”(Turino. The government owned Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation (RBC) promoted the commercialisation of African music “by paying artist after they had recorded a song which was played on the Radio. Professor Musa Zimunya (Eyre 2001:46) notes that . producing music that focused on entertaining and thus helped shift focus away from the mounting political and socio-economic problems. Africans had recourse to one artistic medium. the relationship between the music industry and the colonial government may be viewed as being positive because artists were not questioning government policy and ideology but rather. Music. this situation would not remain so for long. as labourers on farms. 2000:146-148). This post UDI climate would see the rise of a young protest musicians such as Thomas Mapfumo . (Mukombahasha. However. with the help of the colonial government. The foregoing assertions demonstrate that the Rhodesian government’s relationship with the Zimbabwean music industry prior to the UDI was positive but with the declaration of war by the nationalists after Ian Smith’s unilateral declaration of independence and his declaration that he would not bow to majority rule this situation soon changed. Individuals such as Musarurwa became well known both regionally and internationally. “ …when people are under stress . It was during this period that music production. in the mines. With the UDI in 1965 that effected international isolation the music industry invested much more in indigenous artists and the local market. in the domestic industry or as peasants suffering the brunt of colonial oppression – at every turn. African music could no longer be viewed in terms of its communal and spiritual value: The forces of urbanisation and commercialisation now required creative packaging and marketing strategies.cultural practices. “many of whom at this time was not yet producing protest anthems but rather .” (Zindi 1985:3) With the rise of recording companies that were driven by the reality of profit and sustainability Zimbabwean music was on a sure path to commercialisation. it did use both “overt” and “covert” methods to muzzle musicians hostile to the regime. colonial stress.
The most lethal one of these was the Censorship and Entertainment control act of 1967 which branded all “revolutionary” and “popular” music as subversive. the use of vernacular caused a rise in popularity with the buying and listening public. The decade of 1970 1980 represents an important phase in the development of music in Zimbabwe. They were able to assert themselves because. This though being nothing new was “unusual and in the face of the escalating war. a more indigenous as opposed to American or European music was welcome and appreciated.” That is to say. Turino (2000) notes that “musical trends that began as experiments to achieve commercial success became generalised in the second half of the 1970s” It was due to this generalisation and rise that artist like Thomas Mapfumo . A very apt example of innuendo in protest is in the example of Thomas Mapfumo who by the middle of the 1970s had started singing in shona while employing use of traditional as well as European instruments. Innuendo. As a result musicians who propagated dissenting views were targeted by the regime. Zexie Manatsa. however.2001:47) With the enactment of this hostile legislation. Secondly . Artist such as Dickson Chingaira ( alias Comrade Chinx) composed songs such as Hondo Yakura MuZimbabwe ( War has intensified in Zimbabwe) and Maruza Imi (you have lost) (1975) . firstly .Oliver Mutukudzi et al became significant players on the local music scene.”(Eyre.” an indeginous popular music emerged under the familiar impact of urbanization and acculturation. 2001:65) However.enacted a plethora of laws to this effect after the UDI.” was shrewd to avoid the censors for so long. A Black veteran Radio broadcaster who worked in both the RBC and ZBC asserts that. That being so. music was produced for propaganda. genres such as Township jazz and other popular music were forced underground. however in 1978 he finally got banned and arrested. automatically political. With the ban on African language songs and the escalation of the liberation war. He used to structure his lyrics in such a way that even black policemen would have no idea what he was talking about”( Eyre . the African population in the urban centres finally embraced the concept that the urban ethos and culture was an irrevocable part of the African cultural landscape. concealed most of the protest songs which at the time had become central in African people’s music. Mapfumo outmanoeuvred the censors through clever use of innuendo. as according to Manuel ( 1988:105).
That is to say. Chitaika’s1978 song Tirwireiwo Mwari ( Fight for us God) and Mutukudzi’s Ndiri Bofu.”(Kahari. beginning with the colonization of the country in 1890. national consolidation. Others encouraged young African’s to take up arms ( Muka tiende) or highlighted the cruel conditions under which blacks lived . “ the protest song proper ended with the Independence of Zimbabwe on 18 April 1980. reconciliation and development through hard work. while also castigating the white settlers for their intransigence. 2002:43) declares that the songs of Chimurenga had moved from protest to praise. Thomas Mapfumo. Mutukudzi and others “ articulated the new governments goals of unity . the Four brother and others produced songs that congratulated the Ruling party. and the countless acts of white arrogance that culminated in Africans taking up arms.” The attainment of independence in 1980 may be said to be the rise of Zimbabwean music proper. the creator to intervene and release them from the yoke of oppression . “the songs won the war. 1981:981) For their part artist like Mapfumo. the use of the term Zimbabwe was no longer outlawed such that music produced at indepence with the name Zimbabwe were truelly songs of Zimbabwe no simply Rhodesian protest songs. (Chitando. Wolfgang (Bender.and as asserted by (Pongweni . that is.1982).” (Kwaramba 1997: 72) The music of the first decade of Zimbabwe is largely characterized by as Maintained by Chitando ( 2001:45) . There also those who made direct appeals to Mwari. the masses of Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe in particular. To be precise.which recounted the history of Zimbabwe. 1991:164) contends that “ the first year of Independence became the year of Chimurenga pop” It must be noted that the first decade of Independence is often potrayed as a honey moon period in Zimbabwean music. This was due to the escalation of war and the need for music that motivated and inspired the down trodden audiences.This was the period of the rise of Chimurenga . Zacks Manatsa. This period. so confident were most people of the prosperity that lay ahead that one political and cultural nationalist declared in 1981 that . the decade from 1970 to the end of 1979 may be said to be one of the most negative periods in the relationship between the Music industry and the Government in Zimbabwe . In 1980 . for example. Songs produced in the immediate post colonial period thanked the Ancestors and God for their guidance and support.
young African singers were strident in their criticism the failure of the government’s economic policies. elements of pessimism began to creep into the national psyche. the relationship negative with artists creating protests while the government banned those that were too open in their criticism .”. Retrenchments. Artsits like Edwin Hama . A new genre of music emerged and took root.Leonard Zhakata and Simon Chimbetu and others released songs that criticised the regular price increase as in Hama’s Asila Mali .oppressive labour situation . Suddenly many of the artists who had been silent in the protest era of the 1990s revived producing music praising the land redistribution and the govt’s stance against neo imperialism. Corruption by the black elite ( lamented in Mapfumo’s 1988 song corruption). Mapfumo protested the leadership’s consolidation of wealth while the poor majority remained trapped in a vicious property trap. (Eyre 2001) The relationship remained on of negativity well into the 21 st century.high tax rate and other issues.” Musicians captured the national mood in their compositions. In this case . Gibbon(1995) asserts that “ the working poor struggled to make ends meet. This was a genre protesting the failure of the government to deliver the boon of independence. wastefulness by the state and intolerance of opposing views generalized the painful reality that “the government could not deliver the economic miracle it had promised” ( Chitando. soaring prices . The Independence “honeymoon” did not last long as weaknesses began to show.” It would be prudent therefore to conclude that the relationship between the Music industry and the government at this juncture was a positive and optimistic one. however with the land redistribution that began in 2000 and that was legalised with the land distribution act . However others such as .unemployment and destitution became widespread. In the late 1980s and early 1990s. it took on an ambivalent face yet again. Edwin Hama’s Asila Mali and Zhakata’s Mugove faced bans while Chimbetu’s Pane Asipo was investigated. In the 1990s harsh economic and political realities and political contradiction threatened the unified nationalist project.“celebration and optimism. In his 1990 song “Varombo kuvarombo. Starting in the late 1980s.2002:46) This led to a change in the relationship between the leadership and the people.
he sees white settlers as a silent and persecuted group. cameras and musical instruments. with some Deejays complaining that.Mapfumo and the small time Bulawayo musician Bekhitemba Khumalo produced protests against the program. At the time this was viewed by many at the time as a bad thing . That .” (Eyre . all local broadcasters were required by law to have a playlist of seventy five percent local content. In the song.In each era there has been times of positivity and negativity . at the behest of the then minister of information .in 2003 removed all duty on all technology linked to the creation of cultural material that is to say recording and performance equipment such as microphones . endowed with a natural capacity to farm. In conclusion . ( Eyre :2001) He takes the process of removing excess land from a white minority as an “invasion”.Jonathan Moyo . It is evident that the relationship between the Music Industry and The government in both colonial and post independence Zimbabwe has been one of Ambivalence. The singer criticizes the government for attempting to introduce equity in land redistribution. This has also led to a rise in underground and independent record labels independent of Gramma /ZMC’s monopoly in terms of recording and distribution for example Leonard Mapfumo’s Hesh Mufesh Record’s .” (Vambe: 2004)It must also be noted that the government . “ all stations would sound the same. While there has also been points at which both polarities have been evident in the relationship. Mapfumo’s Marima Nzara (2001) blames the government for taking the white-controlled land. Mapfumo claims the government is misguided in taking away land from those with the capacity to farm. which from it’s beginning had been accused of not supporting cultural work . and Elias Musakwa’s Ngaavongwe which took away much of Gramma’s distribution monopoly. This move has also allowed a rise in underground protest movements with music equipment having become more easily accessible .2001: 39) However this was shortsighted as this move led to the rise of a modern urban idiom dubbed urban grooves. Khumalo faced struggle in recording and releasing a song titled “The president is a thief” (2001) On the otherside of the strata are artists like Chinx with his Hondo Yeminda (2002) and Joshua Sacco with Chenjera (2002) which are all “in support of the land reform programme. Also .
the relationship has been based on the ideology expressed by the artist. either it was in agreement with the government and warranted positivity or in protest against the government and warranted negativity. .is.