Anti-Mugabe Singer Remains Defiant
"It's a Holy war …' politicians are devil-worshippers... I have an album lined up already for 21 February 2007 entitled 'Happy 83rd Birthday President R.G Mugabe (Bones of a 30-year-old). If he goes before he celebrates its release I have an ordinary gospel one on stand by, whilst I take time to assess the next president before I sing about him/her," says Viomak
Zimgreats recently had an interview with the Halifax-based Zimbabwean singer, Viomak (VM), whose controversial anti-Mugabe debut CD has generated rave reviews at home and abroad. Below are excerpts of her interview with our features writer (ZGFW);
ZGFW: How and when did you start music and why marry unconventional gospel songs with Zim politics?
VM: I'm assuming by 'unconventional' gospel songs you mean gospel music that is out of the ordinary if my definition of the term is accurate. Sure I'm blending gospel with politics asking God to intervene in our situation for a noble cause. I started singing in May 2005. After spending four months in Zimbabwe (January -April 2005), I came back to Canada and was constantly haunted and torched by the thoughts of the suffering masses .I didn't like what I personally went through and what my fellow people were going through and are still going through, especially the less privileged. At least my stay was temporary but that didn't stop me from thinking about it. I started having this heavy conviction and urge that I had to do something about it. I tried on several occasions to brush off the thought without success.
Unconsciously I found myself singing 'Muzunde Renyu Baba', a United Methodist hymn. Never a day passed without me singing the chorus of this song, 'Ndiri pano Tenzi nditumei kune avo vanoshaya'. I just thought it was one of those things and I tried to ignore it .The urge continued to bother me psychologically, until I said in a prayer God I'll do something about the situation at home if you lead the way and provide the means. Within short a quick thought came into my mind just like that, and that was singing for charity. Somehow I convinced myself that I can do the choral stuff on my own. I was in the school choir from grade 4-7.
Using my savings I recorded the album and my producer charged me half the price for what he normally charges per song. God had opened the first door. Since this project is spiritually driven I had no other choice other than to sing for him who had sent me, about him who is causing the suffering. That's how the two aspects got married. In any case politicians are people just like everyone else and there's nothing special about them, and its high time people stop treating them like mini Gods. More so the Bible says ask for anything in my name and I will answer thee. So am asking God to do something about Mugabe.
ZGFW: You were a teacher in Zimbabwe and you are currently based in Canada, why did you leave home? Did you have contacts there (in Canada) before, if not how and why choose such a destination far away from home.
VM: My journey to Canada was not very well planned. It just happened in 2001 during the chaotic fuel crisis. What I needed at that time was money to put into my business, since the economy had gotten bad that my business had started to deteriorate. I just thought of a long time friend in Canada and asked for her phone number from her sister after which I called her and I made arrangements to come. So coming here was more of a 'forced' choice.
ZGFW: Your debut album "Happy 82nd President R.G Mugabe - Diaspora Classics 1" has received rave reviews internationally and here at home. Is it because of your anti-Mugabe stance or its rare artistry?
VM: I'm not very sure. It could be a mixture of both, but I would like to assume it's because of its rare artistry. People are not so used to mixing politics with God forgetting that politicians are people and we should ask God to intervene or remove them from power if they are evil. Its high time Christians become politically active and that way politics might become a clean game. Politics is a 'profession' and it's unfortunate it is being infested with evil hearted people who worship the devil. Christian leaders who truly 'fear' God is what we should be praying for. So if there are any people who think my music is 'taboo' I suggest they think otherwise and see it as a turning point in initiating Godly change for a better society. It's a holy war that I'm pursuing, and I'm fighting a good and justified fight.
ZGFW: On your website there is mention of channeling proceeds of sale of the CDs to charity, what do you mean by that and have any particular charity benefited?
VM: Yes 50% of the proceeds go to charity and I'm giving not because I have more than enough but because someone doesn't have enough. My music has a divine and political purpose. My first donation was in December 2005 when I donated to Mutemwa Leprosy Centre .The donation procedure was honestly handled by a certain lady in Harare unknown to me. In May 2006 I donated to Matthew Rusike Children's Home through a Mr. Mapurisa but up to now he hasn't come back to me with confirmation that the money was received of which he promised to do as soon as he received the money. Then a few weeks ago I contacted Standard Newspaper concerning articles they had published about the suffering of Murambatsvina victims. I was referred to Pastor Elfas of New Hope Zimbabwe and I offered to assist two girls and a boy with their educational needs. He gave me three children are who are attending a Primary School in Harare. I wired some money to them a few days ago and they should be receiving it anytime from now.
Many of us Zimbabweans just think of making oodles of money, driving poshy cars and building mansions without worrying about the starving child at Porta farm and expect westerners to do everything for us only to complain that the photographs taken are not a true reflection of our lives. It's high time we all stand up and initiate change by all means possible. I will not use God's name for self-centred purposes, but I will use it for his divine purpose. I believe that we should use whatever talents we have to please God since he is the one who gave us the talents, and one way to please him is to please his people first before we please ourselves. And we all have different talents we just have to figure out what the talents are.
ZGFW: You work with the likes of Amnesty International, where your songs driven by their causes or it was just a coincidence?
VM: It could have been sort of by coincidence and merit that I found myself associating with them and the most important thing I guess is I'm not singing about unfounded issues. My school of thought is shared by almost everyone who respects humankind. Thus birds of the same feather flock together.
ZGFW: One article that featured your story says "Happy birthday Gushungo...please go now" if President Mugabe accepts your request who else are you going to sing about?
VM: From the look of things I'm convinced I'll sing about Zimbabwean presidents until we have a holy president who has Zimbabwe and it's People at heart. I have an album lined up already for 21 February 2007 entitled 'Happy 83rd Birthday President R.G Mugabe (Bones of a 30 year old). If he goes before he celebrates its release I have an ordinary gospel one on stand by, whilst I take time to assess the next president before I sing about him/her.
ZGFW: Homecoming, you said you received threats from intelligence agents here, are you proceeding with your plans to visit Zim this summer and are you not afraid?
VM: Yes I'm coming to market my music, re do the album, record the second one and personally get in touch with homes in need .I'm also planning to establish Viomak and the Servants of Truth band and this can only be done by me and in Zimbabwe as far as my musical needs are concerned. I'm not afraid of anything in the meantime. Funny enough I had this awkward dream almost three months ago. I was lying on the ground on my back and Joyce Mujuru was sitting on me and punching me. I managed to push her away after a long and painful struggle. Just a dream maybe. After all God has the final say and again death is certain. So whatever happens to me will be God's will.
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