HARARE – Music that explores love and sex subjects is as useless as a dead thing — it must be a voice of the voiceless in society, questioning all forms of injustice and demand answers — says the protest artiste Raymond Majongwe.
Majongwe is among a few artistes in the country who address social and political ills through songs.
However, the burly musician says it is dangerous to be a protest artiste in Zimbabwe and it requires real artistes who are prepared to sacrifice their lives.
“I endured a lot of violence and beatings on the hands of state security because of my music. I was arrested countless times, my body bears indelible scars and even my family was harassed at some point owing to my career.
“The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation refused to play my music because I sing what I like,” said the Dhiziri paChinhoyi singer.
Majongwe has 28 albums but most of them are not known because they were denied airplay and some of these albums include Which Way Africa?, The Daily News (Singing it like it is), Dr Hasting “Kamuzu” Banda, I sing What I like, Samora Machel, Xenophobia, Mr Music Man, Musazvidzokorore Futi — Long Live President and his latest album Psalms 35 among others.
“On the Daily News the issues I raised are those that are the daily street talk — people talk of elections, victory, torture, defeat, the
warriors, poverty, power, the army, taxes…denials of bail, detentions, brutality, the police, the CIO, fear, war vets — these are the areas I focused my attention on,” he said.
Among Majongwe’s albums there are some he describes as “special ones” which he sang for organisations and individuals.
“I did special songs for Jestina Mukoko, a renowned human rights activist during her abduction. The songs are emotional, I sang about the suffering that Mukoko was going through.
“I also recorded other albums with organisations such as National Constitution Assembly and Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe,” Majongwe told the Daily News On Sunday.
Born in Rusape in 1971 to a teaching couple, Majongwe is fifth in a family of eight.
He grew up as an athlete, without any interest in music as his mother discouraged him to be an artiste.
“I used to play rugby and basket ball in school and I was very good at that. At one point in history I was the secretary general of Dynamos Football club,” he said.
In 2001, he released an album for Dynamos titled Dynamos Vibes which was meant to boost the team’s morale.
Majongwe was helped by players such as Gift Muzadzi and Masimba Dinyero among others on this project.
“That is where I discovered my music talent,” he said.
He temporarily pursued the journalism profession soon after graduating from the University of Zimbabwe where he attained a Bachelor of Arts in History and Economic History degree.
He wrote articles in Kwayedza newspaper for five years.
“I was a prolific writer but I stopped writing articles for the Kwayedza after I discovered that I was a better speaker than writer,” he said.
Majongwe was inspired by Thomas Mapfumo to stand for justice and out of all his songs he said his best album remains I Sing What I Like followed by Psalms 35. –