Research Article

Singing spiritually or superficially? A critical analysis of Mathias Mhere’s track ‘Zimbabwe’

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 41, issue 1, 2021 , pages: 30–35
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2021.1902131
Author(s): Godwin Makaudze, South Africa

Abstract

Music has been one of the Zimbabwean people’s faithful companions since time immemorial. It has been used, among other roles, to entertain, to advise, to warn, to teach, and sometimes, to maintain the status quo in society. Even today, singers exploit this genre for varying purposes. In the song ‘Zimbabwe’ on his 2016 album Double Double, Mhere acknowledges that Zimbabweans are mourning and disgruntled. He sings, advising them not to mourn or complain but rather to be content. In fact, he urges them to take pride in the wonders of nature around the country. Using the socio-historical and the Afrocentricity theories, this article is a critical analysis of his message in the song, in the context of recent Zimbabwean history and experiences. It analyses the lyrics of the song, determining their message. It strives to answer the question: Is the singer singing spiritually, or is he doing so superficially? The article argues that, although the singer could be ‘seeing’ a Zimbabwe that the majority may not see and although the country has many wonders of nature which the singer describes, the people’s disgruntlement is still justified. The article thus concludes that Mhere could be singing spiritually but largely, he seems to be advertising the beauty of the nation to a disgruntled people. This makes his song largely a superficial response to the people’s cry.

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