By Mtandazo Dube
Serial hit-maker Tocky Vibes has expressed shock and disbelief at the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ)’s recent move to ban his song — “African Queen” (Binga) — from the airwaves.
The song, which is part of the “Villager’s Money Volume 1”, an album exclusively released on iTunes a fortnight ago, had started making waves on various radio stations before the ban.
In a letter addressed to Zimpapers radio stations, the BAZ wrote;
“We advise that we have received a complaint about the song ‘African Queen’ by Tocky Vibes, where the complainant has indicated that they find some parts of the lyrics of the song offensive as they appear to denigrate the people of Binga.”
The letter goes on the quote the alleged offensive lyrics, which commence on one minute and three seconds of the track, and go like this: “Ukaenda Binga vanhu vanenge vakashama, ukagara Binga uchange wakashama.”
The BAZ then goes on to deliver the damning verdict, that they have concerns with the “appropriateness of the above lyrics on radio or television platforms”.
Tocky Vibes, a self-proclaimed “defender of African people, their culture and their rights”, said he would never denigrate any African person.
“Some people think that I insulted them. But this song actually praises women, it celebrates African women. My inspiration for the song and video came from Jah Prayzah’s song in which he showcases the culture of the people of Binga.
“I said to myself, these are the people that still represent Africa. They may not walk around like that today but that is their culture.
“We should be having problems with people that celebrate clothes — because clothes were not part of our culture. We never used to put on any clothes,” said Tocky Vibes.
He said in this day and age, when most young girls want to look like Nicki Minaj, he found inspiration in the Tonga culture and decided to celebrate it.
“I never say anything that denigrates Africans, I always want to uplift them. However, I understand that we have different perspectives and sometimes in life we encounter things like these, which we have to overcome. It makes us stronger,” said Tocky Vibes.
However, it is BAZ’s responsibility to monitor and regulate content adjudged to be in bad taste. It was established through an Act of Parliament in 2001.
This is not the first time for Tocky to go down this road.
Another one of his compositions — “What Was Done to Me” — which depicts servitude and other forms of abuse, was once taken down from YouTube. However, Tocky successfully appealed against the move after pointing out the artistry behind the song and video.
“I’ll continue to make positive music. Music is bigger than what we all think as people. People die but music lives on,” he said.
The song, posted on YouTube just a few weeks ago, has amassed almost 200 000 views on the video-sharing website and according to the artiste, the album on iTunes is selling better than expected.
Tocky is planning to release “The Villager’s Money Volume 2” on June 21. He intends to put it on CD for easy access by his local music fans.
“I did not want to confuse my fans by giving them two albums almost at the same time. ‘Volume 1’ carries 12 tracks and that is the one on iTunes while ‘Volume 2’ has 14 tracks. I’ll put it on the local market through CDs,” said Tocky Vibes.
While Tocky Vibes may not be the most talked about artiste in Zimbabwe at the moment, he remains one of the most hard working and consistent.
Barring his collision with BAZ and YouTube, Tocky is one of the most sought-after artistes by the Zimbabwean diaspora and drops new songs, usually accompanied by videos, almost every week.
Tocky has mastered the art of low budget videos and spends most of his time at his studio, which was built at his house.
The world was introduced to a teenage Tocky Vibes in 2009 through “Tiri kumhanya”. Since then, he has shed his boyish voice for his now signature booming virile vocals that have seen him rise to prominence with a string of hits, among them “Amai”, “Aenda Nenyika”, “Ndini Ndinorira” and “Dziripo Hama”, to name just a few.
He has remained consistent in releasing music — with songs such as “Tushiri”, “Maoko Mudenga” and “Mari”, among many others — keeping the dancefloor packed and also rocking the charts.
The 25-year-old father of one — a son who is just a few weeks old — says he will not be stopping any time soon. He recently did a single with United Kingdom-based reggae-dancehall singer, Mic Inity, and the song is being polished up.
A video for the collaborative effort was shot in London in April.
Tocky Vibes, is set for a reunion with his UK fans this July when he shares the stage with Alick Macheso, Selmor Mtukudzi and Seh Calaz. The Sunday Mail