Some will find Thomas Mapfumo’s outspokenness unnerving during his 12-day stay in Zimbabwe.
He speaks his mind, and whether we agree with him or not, that alone is evidence of the breath of fresh air that has swept across Zimbabwe since November 2017.
Which is why the return home of one Zimbabwe’s most illustrious sons of music is an expression of confidence in a country once flirting with dangerous isolationism.
Future students of music and history will reference this return by the man some call Gandanga, Hurricane Hugo or Mukanya (his totem) as a reflection of the zeitgeist of Zimbabwe post-Operation Restore Legacy that ended Robert Mugabe rule and ushered in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s dispensation.
Mukanya said he would not set foot in Zimbabwe again as long as Mugabe was in power. Mugabe is gone and Mukanya is back.
This is not about Mukanya. This is about the spirit of the day.
A young aspiring artiste in Shurugwi, seeing all the love being showered on Mukanya, his return, and the weight of his endorsement, will feel rejuvenated.
An engineer who left Zimbabwe in frustration years ago will see Mukanya’s return as more than just a music show; he will interpret it as a sign that Zimbabwe is changing, has indeed changed.
A tourist who for long has feared coming to sample the beauty that is Zimbabwe will be emboldened to make the journey.
The zeitgeist is that Zimbabwe is open for business: it is open to Mukanya, it is open to investors, it is open to you and me.
So no matter what comes out of Mukanya’s oft-unbridled mouth, we already feel differently about our country. And that can only be a good thing.
Mukanya summed it up on landing in Harare when he told journalists: “I am happy to come and reunite with my fans because we have hope and it is something that we can celebrate about. I can foresee things changing for the better and I want to encourage all Zimbabweans to work together for the development of the country.”
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