Thomas Mapfumo and The Blacks Unlimited – Muchadura

• “Muchadura” set to a picture of LP label. Thanks to AboubacarSiddikh.

9.6 “All-time classic Africana from Zimbabwe”

From his eighth album “Varombo Kuvarombo” (Chimurenga Music TML-101) released in 1989. “Muchadara”, which translates as “You Will Confess” opens up side 2 of the LP.

By 1989, the focus of Mapfumo’s invigorating Chimurenga music had switched from the struggle for liberation to the corrupt aftermath – for many Zimbabweans the hope of the early 1980s was turning to despair already; very much a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Speaking to afropop.org, historian Mhoze Chikowero observed:

“The government had kind of become used to the message of lionization, the celebration where musicians would sing leaders’ names. They were not used to criticism. They were heroes of the struggle. So they didn’t take lightly, of course, to criticism… Politicians were basically using their power to access limited resources and government subsidized industries… purchasing and reselling for personal profits. The regime of rationing things was in effect. So you are looking at a class of people, which should actually be leading social and economic transformation, and they are using their power in unrepresentative ways, for self-enrichment. So you see the beginning of the emergence of this wide divide between the new rich and the have-nots, who continued to actually struggle to survive. And this would be worsened by the economic structural adjustment program (ESAP) that the leaders brought in from the IMF and the World Bank, a program that was actually never meant to work for the poor in the first place.”

After a campaign of government-sponsored harassment, Mapfumo was forced to emigrate to the United States, where he continues to live.

Speaking to Nehanda Radio in April 2015, Thomas made it abundantly clear that these issues burn as strongly today as they did then:

“Is freedom removing an oppressive white man and replacing him with an oppressive black man? Is that freedom? Freedom has several inputs, freedom of speech, freedom of religion etc.”

Mapfumo reflected on the Independence Day celebrations in 1980 and how the late Bob Marley came to perform. He said Marley sang for the freedom of everyone in the world and if he was alive today he would be saddened by what has since happened to Zimbabwe under Mugabe and Zanu PF’s rule. The Chimurenga musician tore into Mugabe for selling out the ideals for which he and everyone else fought for during the liberation struggle that led to independence.

“The leader of a country, why would you build a mansion with chairs made of gold? Yet you claim you came with “Gutsa Ruzhinji – Plenty for all”. So why do you need the mansion? You are over 90 years old. What is going to happen to your mansion? Who is going to live in it? Are you representing people or did you come to rob people in the name of the revolution?”

This LP captures Thomas Mapfumo on fire – it’s not to be missed. Download a free copy from the excellent Global Groove blog.

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