Thomas Mapfumo angered by call to return home


Music legend Thomas Mapfumo has reacted angrily to a call by a Zimbabwe-based Chimurenga artiste, Jairos Chabvonga, to end his self-imposed exile.

Chabvonga recently blamed Mapfumo’s long absence from Zimbabwe for the poor status of Chimurenga music.

“Mukanya (Mapfumo) should simply come back home,” said Chabvonga who is fighting to keep the once popular music genre alive.


“I am trying to uphold the legacy of Chimurenga music but fans seem no longer interested in the genre considering that Mukanya who is the face of the genre seems to have abandoned it.

“Therefore, for the sake of continuity of Chimurenga music, which is our heritage, I urge Mukanya to quickly return home or to just come for concerts,” said Chabvonga.

Mapfumo, whose candid lyrics irked the Zanu (PF) government, fled the country to the USA more than a decade ago.

However, Chabvonga’s remarks riled Mapfumo who, through a statement by Austin Sibanda on behalf of the board of Chimurenga Music Company, said the two had no “social contract” relating where Mukanya must play.

“It comes as a surprise that there seems to be a fictitious social contract between Jairos Chabvonga and Dr Thomas Mapfumo regarding which jurisdictions to perform in at any point in time,” said Sibanda.



He described as “unfortunate and misplaced”, Chabvonga’s notion that Mapfumo could revive his fortunes by returning to Zimbabwe.

“This is a free world where Mukanya has been able to explore other global opportunities while still not forgetting his fans at home,” said Sibanda.

He added that Mapfumo had in 2015 alone done 27 shows across the African continent, touching base with his wide base of fans.

“To dispute Chabvonga’s anxiety, Mukanya has never abandoned Chimurenga music. That’s the hallmark of his trade and the soul of his life since the (1960s).

“Mukanya’s music continues to impact many fans on a global scale,” said Sibanda, noting that Mapfumo enjoyed wide coverage on social media and online channels like Spotify and ITunes).

Mapfumo’s spokesperson said the world-renowned artiste did not hold a key to some crucial instrument that Chabvonga needed, implying that the Zimbabwe-based musician could still go ahead and promote Chimurenga on his own.

“Chabvonga’s sense of urgency could imply that either Mukanya comes to Zimbabwe today or else Chimurenga music is dead (sic).

“That is ill-founded and misplaced. There are many other home-based musicians singing Chimurenga music. We are not sure what Chabvonga is missing from the music rubric,” said Sibanda.

He announced that Mukanya was planning to hold a show in Zimbabwe soon “but would not jump into such a plan over an alarmist and unjustified request.”

The statement dismissed the belief that Mapfumo’s legacy was dying, saying the music guru had not betrayed his fans

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