The political and economic
crisis in Zimbabwe has provided Botswana performers and musicians with an
unexpected source of inspiration. Artists from neighboring countries are finding musical ways of showing
their support for Zimbabwe's citizens. Botswana's top 2 selling artists have
released CDs containing messages of hope. Voice of America English to Africa
Service reporter Martin Ngwenya says that
during the liberation struggle in South Africa, artists in many countries across
the African continent contributed by motivating and encouraging the masses.
Musicians like Mzwakhe Mbuli,
the late Miriam Makeba and Lucky Dube inspired millions during apartheid. It seems a similar, although
smaller, phenomenon is underway regarding the unfolding situation in Zimbabwe.
As the country's economic and political landscape remains uncertain, increasing
numbers of artists in Botswana are singing about the fortitude and strength of
Kwaito-kwasa star Odirile
'Vee' Sento recently released a CD titled "Setimela", which means
train. It contains the song, "Zvichanaka" a Shona word for "It
will be fine". The performer asks why people watch as Zimbabweans suffer.
Vee muses that while life is tough in Zimbabwe now, it won't always be that
fellow countryman and leading kwasa kwasa artist, Frank 'Franco' Lesokwane, has
dedicated his song 'Zimbabwe' to those suffering in the neighboring
country. Franco says he's been deeply
affected by the crisis. He's appealing
to Africa to assist the troubled nation.
Zimbabweans, says Franco,
don't deserve to be treated with disdain or phobia. He sympathizes with the
hordes of Zimbabweans who cross into neighboring countries to seek a living,
only to be ridiculed. Both songs' lyrics are written in Shona. Fans say the 2
tracks contain messages of hope and inspiration.
Myron Nyathi, a Zimbabwean
living in Botswana, compares the current situation to the days of the
liberation struggle when musicians like Chinx Chingaira and Thomas Mapfumo
motivated fighters. Both Sento and Franco have performed in Zimbabwe. They hope their latest
offerings will endear them to the Zimbabwean people even further.