Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Thomas Mapfumo eyes Zimbabwe return

By Ruth Butaumocho

LONDON – Chimurenga guru Dr Thomas Tafirenyika Mapfumo says he will be coming to Zimbabwe around July to hold several shows for his legion of fans, after an eight-year absence. 

Thomas Mapfumo at London's Heathrow Airport
Thomas Mapfumo at London’s Heathrow Airport

In a telephone interview from London where he arrived on Wednesday for weekend performances with superstar Oliver Mtukudzi, the legendary musician known the world over by his sobriquet Mukanya, the Lion of Zimbabwe or Hurricane Hugo, said he had to postpone his homecoming shows slated for this month, because of pending elections.

Mukanya said he also wanted time to sort out documents for himself and his band members.

“I will definitely be coming home this year. We would have wanted to be there in March, but we have had to postpone because of the elections. We are also working with our lawyers here to make sure that our documents meet immigration requirements,” he said.

Mukanya was, however, non-committal on whether he was coming home for good or just to hold shows before going back to his base in Oregon, United States.

“Tiri kuuya kumusha, kumba kwedu. Sezvo tiri vanhu vemabasa hatigare panzvimbo imwe chete, tinenge tichifambafamba tichitsvaga mari. (We will be coming home, to our base, but it is difficult to be domiciled at one place, because we are constantly looking for new opportunities),” he said.

He, however, chose to talk about his new album that he had been holding up for fear of feeding the well-orchestrated piracy network once it reaches Zimbabwe.

“Ndiri kunzwa kuti piracy yakura kunge nzara. That alone has stalled the release of my new 14-track album for sometime now. I have been speaking to my friend Shamu (Webster Shamu, Minister of Media, Information and Publicity) to have all those pirates arrested.

“Once that problem has been solved I will definitely release the album. I have since finished working on the album titled ‘World on Fire’, which I am hoping will hit the streets in the United States in a few weeks time.

“The album which I had initially named ‘Danger Zones’ is about the raging wars in different parts of the world. On this one, I am not singing on Zimbabwe, because Zimbabwe is not an issue. There are no burning issues at home at the moment.

“But if you look around you will realise that there is so much that is happening in other countries, so I chose to look at those issues. I also did a couple of tracks on love,” said the Chimurenga icon, who last released an album in 2010.

Already his fans are eagerly waiting for his return and stage a number of homecoming shows that are expected to be a sold out. Mapfumo, who now lives in the United States, left Zimbabwe nine years ago and went into self-imposed exile alleging persecution and intimidation.

Initially, Mukanya would stage homecoming shows every festive season and his first show after relocating to the US was held at the Boka Tobacco Auction Floors and was packed to capacity.

Since then people have been waiting for him to come and stage another show, although he has been to South Africa, where he has held several gigs.

Born in 1945 in Marondera, Mukanya lived a traditional lifestyle until the age of 10, when his family moved to Mbare. He joined his first band, the Zutu Brothers, as a singer at the age of 16, starting a musical journey that made him one of the greatest musicians in the country’s history.