Rhetorical Strategies in Thomas Mapfumo's Protest Music -- -- Cataloguing

Alice Dadirai Kwaramba, M. Phil.

The style of cataloguing that had helped structure the text as well as bring out the issues of importance during the 1970s was maintained after the war, but to highlight different issues. The same groups that Mapfumo had catalogued as suffering victims of the war in the 1970s, are again catalogued in most songs at independence but performing an oppositional action, that of celebrating. The catalogue is no longer that of victims but of victors:

Vanamai vanodada nayo nyika yavo yeZimbabwe
Mothers are proud of their Zimbabwe

Vanababa vanodada nayo nyika yavo ye Zimbabwe
Fathers are proud of their Zimbabwe

Vakomana tinodada nayo nyika yedu yeZimbabwe
Even us boys are proud of our Zimbabwe

Vasikana vanodada nayo nyika yavo yeZimbabwe
Girls are also proud of their Zimbabwe.

Keeping the catalogue format and participants almost intact across the two historical phases, Mapfumo focuses on the action. The texts draw a sharp contrast in the action, from suffering and protest to celebration and unity. The contrasting actions highlight the difference in the atmosphere between the past period of colonisation and the present of independence.


[from Alice Dadirai Kwaramba, Popular Music and Society: The Language of Chiumurenga Music: The Case of Thomas Mapfumo in Zimbabwe. Oslo: University of Oslo, 1997. pages 45-46. Available from Department of Media and Communications [info@media.uio.no].


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