Dispute over gospel album cover
The release of the gospel album ‘Zim-Praise Volume 1’ has allegedly been stopped by Zimbabwean authorities because of its cover photo, writes The Zimbabwe Standard newspaper
Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), uses the open hand as its symbol. So when the government authorities saw the album cover of the new gospel compilation album ‘Zim-Praise Volume 1’, which has people with open palms praising the Lord, its producers were summoned by the Media and Information Commission to explain why they had produced an “opposition music album”.
The album is a 15-track compilation of non-political gospel music featuring various singers.
Geoffrey Chaparadza of International Tarch-Icon Film and Television Productions, the funders of the project, explained to The Zimbabwe Standard newspaper that “it is by mere coincidence that when people raise their hands in praise they may be said to be showing the MDC sign.”
He told the newspaper that leading music distributor Spinalong had initially agreed to distribute the album, but in a sudden about-face the company called to inform him that they could no longer distribute the album.
Spinalong managing director, Admire Taderera, explained to The Standard that his company had made an observation, from a marketing perspective, that the picture on the sleeve would give them problems, but that they had never refused to distribute Tarch-Icon’s product. “I would have suggested they show full portraits of people waving their hands in praise,” he said. But that was all.
Taurai Maduna, information officer of The Kubatana Trust of Zimbabwe, reports on a weblog-page that those interested in getting a copy of the gospel album will have to wait a while. He writes that the album is not yet for sale in any music shop because the producers are contemplating whether to give in to the authorities and re-design the album cover.
The Zimbabwe Standard – 29 March 2007:
‘MIC quizzes gospel music producer over MDC symbol’
Kubatana Blogs – 29 March 2007:
‘Do these “open hands” represent Zimbabwe’s opposition party?’