A good song is one whose beat and melodies make you tap your foot and nod your head to the rhythm like a rock-lizard. Such songs are well composed and sung. There is, however, another category of songs: the ones whose lyrics make them surpass mere music composition to a music creation that personifies life itself. Such is Winky D’s song “Dzika Ngirozi” featuring Vabati VaJehova. Notwithstanding a rather disappointing video released on 12 March 2018, “Dzika Ngirozi” reaches to the heartbeat of souls and in turn produces different feelings, thoughts and reactions.
The following are three major themes that I deduce from the song in my practical criticism and appreciation of his art. As should be expected, in practical criticism and appreciation of great art, themes, meanings and feelings that may be construed by the audience may not necessarily be the same. Sometimes they may even be different from those intended by the artist. Thus, views that are expressed hereunder are not necessarily those of Winky D.
- The political angel that never came
Aiwa ndatsikwa konzi”
It is often said that the chorus is the whole song. It is inevitable, therefore, to start by analysing the chorus of “Dzika Ngirozi”. Loosely translated, Winky D’s chorus says: “I thought an angel would come and end this suffering but instead I remain trapped”.
In my mind, the “Dzika Ngirozi” chorus – a song that was released after the fall of Robert Mugabe – is pregnant with political meaning. The rule of Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF government has been characterised by gross violation of human rights and a ruinous economy policy.
While victims of major horrendous human rights violations such as Gukurahundi, Operation Murambatsvina, Operation Makavhotera Papi etc. lost hope during the Mugabe era, they hoped for justice post the Mugabe era.
It can be said that after Mugabe, such victims hoped for a political angel that would bring them healing, an angel that would emancipate them from bondage, an angel that would let them know the truth about what happened to their relatives such as Itai Dzamara and others, an angel that would not only stop the continued assault on the rights of Zimbabweans but will end corruption and other forms of political maladministration.
The fall of Robert Mugabe saw the ascendancy of Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa to power [ED]. The fundamental question is whether ED is the political angel that the victims had hoped for. In my forthcoming article in an Oxford Journal on transitional justice, I have argued that it is unlikely for the current transitional justice processes in Zimbabwe to succeed because there has not been a substantive or meaningful transition of political power – an important precondition of transitional justice. ED and others are implicated in the gross human rights violations mentioned above.
Now that there has not been any meaningful transition of power for the victims to get justice, I can ‘hear’ the victim’s voice in Winky D’s chorus saying, “I thought an angel would come and end this suffering but instead I remain trapped”. To the victims, the ascension of ED to power was not the descension of the political angel they anticipated.
Kusimuka kwaED handiko kudzika kwengirozi. There is clear and discernible disappointment and despair when the victim says “aiwa ndatsikwa konzi” which means being stuck in one place because someone is stepping your ankle into the ground. This is followed by a picture of the victim giving up on his or her own efforts. The victim appeals to the spiritual world instead – “zvenyama zvaramba, mweya tungamira vana, vasunungure muhuranda”.
- Zimbabweans as hardworking people
“Zvinondibaya pahana, pandinotarisa vana/Varikumhanyisana nemabasa kuda kudzinga hurombe/ Ndosivaona kuhope Varipamushando/ aiwa hadzizi nyope/ Kubva mangwanani vari pandima Dzamara kudoke”
Another theme that Winky D explores in his song is that Zimbabweans are hardworking notwithstanding the economic misfortunes they currently face. In this theme, he does not only point to the hardworking nature of Zimbabweans and the socio-economic problems they face but also present a multifaceted question of responsibility. The first question – which is almost silent – is political and salient: if Zimbabweans are hardworking, who then is responsible for their economic suffering? The answer to this question is obvious.
The second question relates to the cultural sense of responsibility that exist between children and parents. Before the economic meltdown, the norm in our country was that by a certain age, children become economically independent and look after their parents. Yet, at the moment, not only are many children unable to look after their parents, they cannot afford to even look after themselves.
Third and heartbreakingly, parents look at the unfruitfulness of their children’s hardwork. This exhibit the moral responsibility that parents continue to bear even way after their children become adults. In the song, the parents are presented bemoaning seeing the situation that currently confronts their children – “zvinondibaya pahana, pandinotarisa vana”.
- Zimbabwean Economic refugees in the diaspora
“Nhamo yangu ndeyekubereka vana vandisisawone,
Vangovafararira nenyika hanzi hatingazvigone,
Hona votiza musha, kufira musango here senge vasina musha”
It is common cause that Mugabe’s reign of terror and ruinous economic policy drove millions of Zimbabweans into foreign lands. They are scattered across the globe as rightfully indicated by Winky D when he says “ndatenderera, Oskid ndafamba mamayera, ndateketera, ndatsika kunyangwe panoyera”. There is, however, some important points that can be construed from the lyrics as far as this theme is concerned. First, Mugabe’s rule succeeded in breaking families as family members left either fleeing Mugabe’s reign of terror or in search of greener pastures.
Second, it refers to the unfortunate circumstances that are met by Zimbabweans living in the diaspora. While the phrase “kufira musango here sevasina musha” can be literally interpreted to mean Zimbabweans who have died in foreign lands – some whose bodies, unfortunately, could not be brought home to buried with their ancestors – it may also refer to the unbearable situations that are faced by Zimbabweans living in the diaspora.
The internet is full of incidents where Zimbabweans being subjected to unacceptable treatment in the diaspora. In my article on transitional justice mentioned above, I have argued that transitional justice processes that seem to ignore victims who are in the diaspora is incomplete if we are to talk about national healing.
Winky D’s “Dzika Ngirozi” embodies a number of political, economic and social themes that currently characterise the core of aspirations, hopes and disappointments of many Zimbabweans. An excellent song convinces different listeners that the song is precisely talking about them and their different stories. Winky D’s “Dzika Ngirozi” is such a song.
Thus, just in as much as I am convinced that Winky D’s song is about the stories and feelings of economic and political victims who have no hope in the current administration, so are many political actors who think Jah Prayzah composed “Mudhara Achauya” and “Kutonga Kwaro” specifically for them. Pamwe Jah Prayzah waitorevawo hake kuti ndiye mudhara negamba reMilitary Touch Movement! The art in a song is the personification – real or imagined – of the life of the listener. “Dzika ngirozi” has such artistry.