Protest singer challenges Mugabe’s regime
Exiled Zimbabwean singer Viomak challenges the Mugabe regime. By doing so she puts her life at risk, she says, and she sings under the pseudonum Viomak for fear of reprisals against her family in Zimbabwe.
“Die for a reason that will live”, Viomak writes as an opening line on her website, viomakcharitymusic.com, and continues: “I refuse to oppress my voice.”
At a recent protest outside Zimbabwe’s embassy in London, Viomak and a chorus of young Zimbabwean women sang to the president of their country: “Robert Mugabe, leave now, the time is up!”
In an article written for the global news network Agence France-Presse, published by the Mail & Guardian, as well as on numerous websites around the world, on 29 October 2007, Lachlan Carmichael describes how Viomak’s protest songs are repressed in Zimbabwe:
“The air waves are state run, radio stations in exile are jammed, Internet cafes are monitored, shops are banned from selling her music, and borders are so tight it is hard to smuggle in large numbers of compact discs.”
As such, Zimbabweans can only listen to Viomak’s music furtively as they all fear the omnipresent secret police known as Central Intelligence Officers, the CIO.
Political asylum in UK
Now based in Birmingham, she says she has sold approximately 7,000 copies of her albums ‘Happy 82nd Birthday President R.G. Mugabe’ and ‘Happy 83rd President R.G. Mugabe’. She doesn’t know how many albums have been sold in Zimbabwe – as the 41-year old Zimbabwean singer told AFP: “I didn’t even bother to check because I was risking my life.”
Zimbabwean journalist Itai Mushekwe of the weekly newspaper The Zimbabwe Independent is staying in Germany as he fears reprisals back home. He told AFP that he believes Viomak together with chimurenga singer Thomas Mapfumo – who now lives in exile in USA – are probably Zimbabwe’s two leading protest artists at the time being.
“Protest music is increasingly becoming the only weapon to confront the Mugabe regime’s abuse of power,” he said.
Viomak told Freemuse in an e-mail:
About the artist
Viomak will be releasing her third album on Mugabe’s birthday, 21 February 2008.
|Related reading on the internet
Viomak’s official website:
Agence France-Presse, AFP – 29 October 2007:
‘Zimbabwean singer packs protest punch with velvet vocals’
‘Music is an unstoppable force’
|Related reading on freemuse.org|