Tendai Maraire: “Boom is me throwing a punch at those that still disrespect Zimbabwean music”

Tendai Maraire: “I remember when Zimbabwe gained independence. My mother had a big party at the house in Seattle — with all her friends, Zimbabwean and American. My uncle, who fought in the guerrilla war against the white Rhodesian state, flew in weeks later. She started celebrating every year and even would get together with friends to sponsor groups from Zimbabwe to come and perform. Years later she focused more on performing, and non-Zimbabweans took over. They called it a Marimba festival and later transitioned it to Zimfest, which still exists. One year, my brothers and I went when my father was still alive living in Zimbabwe. After we came back, we saw that it had not represented our culture, history or the people indigenous to Zimbabwe. So we started flipping tables etcetera. The festival was stopped and dialogue started on how things needed to change. I promised that day to everyone that I would change it. See, Zimbabwean music has a rich story-telling history. Some songs have messages that are inappropriate for those of European descent to sing. But yet they still feel comfortable doing so even though Shona people feel this way. So ‘Boom’ is me throwing my first punch at those that still disrespect the music. While I touch on some subjects that personally affect me when they do it. Boom!”*

* When Tendai Maraire broke down his Pungwe mixtape for us last year. Above is the video for the mixtape’s second track, “Boom”.

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2 thoughts on “Tendai Maraire: “Boom is me throwing a punch at those that still disrespect Zimbabwean music”

  1. I’ve read some of the life stories of women about the effect of the independence fighting on their persona lives collected in a book called Mothers of the Revolution, and some of the work of a white author named Doris Lessing who supported the goal of an independent country with full democracy for blacks while she lived in what was still Rhodesia (at the time Lessing belonged to a tiny communist circle that shared its materials with the black independence activists and published its own pamphlets trying to adapt Marxist ideas to the local democracy movement). It gives me only a tiny glimpse of life in Zimbabwe and a dated one at that, but as an American there were certain things about their stories that were especially surprising, compared to the usual accounts of the history of southern Africa.

    There was a real disconnect between what the rural black civilians felt was important and what the white communist circle in favor of independence was putting in their pro-independence pamphlets, which no doubt got better circulation with Western journalists since they spoke the same language. A few rural women interviewed for the book Mothers of the Revolution had drawn the conclusion that, barring any other explanation, it must’ve been the way the white farmers would beat people who refused to dig contour ditches, pointing out that after independence it was explained to all the smallholders that these were erosion control innovations, and the contour ditches were still dug after all, but without the need to beat people to get it done. Of course personal involvement with the political networks of the black independence leadership kept other women fully informed, but for some households in more remote areas it was really a situation where the state the whites had put themselves in charge of never bothered to include their communities in political life and the local infrastructure left them so disconnected from the capital and the international news sources that they hardly noticed the official line, and it didn’t really apply to them that much.

  2. Nice HIV conspiracy reference there; too bad he didn’t think about the harm such an idiotic claim can do, especially when it’s used by AIDS denialists.

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