Zimbabwe: Musician asks: why do you ban my music?



Musician asks: why do you ban my music?

In an open letter in the Zimbabwean newspaper Harare Tribune in August 2008, musician Leonard Zhakata asks the country’s ruling party ZANU-PF: “Why do you ban my music from being played on ZBC tv and radio?”

When Leonard Zhakata first heard that certain of his songs had been banned from the airwaves because they were perceived to be ‘politically incorrect’ he immediately went to have a meeting with Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings chief executive officer Munyaradzi Hwengwere. The officer assured Leonard Zhakata that it is not the corporation’s policy to blacklist particular songs, but the musician was not convinced. Whenever he’d ask why his music videos are not played on ZBH TV, he’d be receiving conflicting explanations.

“The Zimbabwe censorship board has not come up with any spelt guidelines as to what we should sing or not. What they have done is to let broadcasters decide what they want played and what they do not want played. This has left the ZBH with a monopoly to blacklist songs it sees as politically incorrect,” Leonard Zhakata wrote in Harare Tribune.

He feels that the message of his songs have been misinterpreted by ZBH, and even though his songs are not political, he has had to cancel a number of live shows in areas dominated by the ruling party as they threatened his person.

Leonard Zhakata


Harare Tribune – 10 August 2008:

‘Zhakata: ZANU-PF, why do you ban my music?’

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