The Sunday Mail
Faith Chingoiro and Farai Mushangwe
Music can be a weapon of gender discrimination. It appears in various genres and is used on different occasions — be it in churches or gatherings. Many artists fail to recognise how language within their music is a weapon of disempowering the other gender mostly women and how it can build or destroy a Nation’s health.
Artists such as Enzo Ishall in his famous song “Kanjiva” used language in a way that is disempowering to women. The song was initially meant to be enjoyed through the Kanjiva dance.
As the society we live in is a patriarchal society many men have changed that meaning to mean something completely different.
Combi drivers use “kanjiva” to refer to women they consider beautiful whilst calling those they consider less beautiful as “Kazizi.”
In other words, the label of kazizi has the effect of reducing a woman’s self-confidence.
When we look at how Combi drivers use it to refer to light skinned women as “Kanjiva” that in a way takes away confidence in those women who are not as light skinned.
It’s rare for artists to sing about songs to do with how they define handsomeness in men.
It is always about how women ought to be for them to be defined as beautiful. That in itself destroys women’s confidence. It disempowers them in ways society fails to understand.
Beauty nowadays is mostly defined by one’s skin complexion.
The light ones being considered the most beautiful ones. This has resulted in numerous women wanting to change their skin colour.
Many women have even resorted to using skin lightening creams which enhance their complexion whilst overlooking the health side effects.
This has resulted in an increase in skin diseases such as skin cancer.
Music can therefore build or destroy a nation’s health.
It is of paramount importance for artists to remember the power of music on a nation’s health. Enzo’s music has also contributed to the degrading status of women rights in Zimbabwe because the song called “50 Magate” does not appreciate women dancers since some of the lyrics and video suggest so. The song overlooks how some women due to various circumstances have resorted to using their body as dancers to financially empower themselves.
The number of magate which Enzo used exaggerate what influences women to dance. Sadly, the song has been used by some to believe that some women are still obsessed with using chuma /mushonga to do well in life which is not the case.
The substance of women is eroded by such songs as 50 magate.
It would seem that according to Enzo, some women resort to spirit possession and all sorts of macabre things in order to enjoy themselves or lure men to enjoy themselves. While artists use all sorts of poetic language to communicate a message, it is difficult to decipher what message Enzo was trying to communicate to his fans or the nation at large.
As Ngugi waThiongo says, language has a dual character in that “it is both a means of communication and a carrier of culture.”
The choice of language and the use to which language is put is central to a people’s definition of themselves in relation to their natural and social environment. Musicians like writers are surgeons of the “heart and souls of the community.”
Artists like Enzo need to be careful in how they use language for whatever words or characterisation. The words will in future become ingrained in young impressionable minds.