Outcry over Majaivana death error in textbook
MAXWELL SIBANDA – ASSISTANT EDITOR – ARTISTES are up in arms with the Primary and Secondary Education ministry over a commissioned textbook which it implies that musician Lovemore Majaivana is dead.
Titled Best Approach to Visual and Performing Arts, the book is for Grade 3 learners and it is currently being used in schools. It was published by Priority Projects Publishing (PPP) and commissioned by the government.
Majaivana is alive and lives in the United States, having left Zimbabwe at the turn of the millennium. He has since quit music and does other jobs there.
A top musician during his time in Zimbabwe and based in Bulawayo, he released national hit songs such as Umoya Wami, Wakewashayina, Isono Sami and Mkwenyana among several hits.
Dub poet Albert Nyathi, who has known and worked with Majaivana said: “I am so infuriated by a publisher teaching children lies in a book, claiming one of our topmost musicians in Zimbabwe is late. Am wondering if that book is on the syllabus! This must be stopped forthwith.”
Outspoken playwright Cont Mhlanga blasted the Education ministry for awarding contracts to people who “are too lazy to research”.
“We should not do this with the education of our children just because we want quick money from donors and to loot public funds from government by giving contracts to people who are too lazy to research and have no clue about the cultural creative industries of Zimbabwe. And how does such content find its way into our national schools?”
Pressed for comment by Mhlanga, Priority Projects Publishing operations executive Samuel Chuma responded to the outcry. “As a leading publisher, Priority Projects Publishing acknowledges the feedback on the Visual and Performing Arts Grade 3 Learner’s Book where Lovemore Majaivana was captioned as ‘The late’.
“We shall offer an official statement soon after we have done our investigations. PPP sincerely apologises for the emotional pain and trauma caused to Majaivana’s immediate family, Majaivana himself and the country at large.”
Mhlanga was furious: “Can the minister, Cain Mathema, and his government please pay Majaivana +/- US$1 million compensation and send an official apology to his family and the people of Bulawayo and the rest of the country for this misinformation before holding the Zimbabwe @40 Celebrations in Majaivana’s city community and neighbourhood. We cannot allow the nation to celebrate such errors and nonsense 40 years on!
“The Bulawayo Resident Minister should pass on this massage to the Office of the Cabinet and President. What are government officials doing to our national memory and to the minds of our young people? And for the publisher of this book, he must face the music!”
Mhlanga said as a leader in the performing arts sector who represents the interests of many, he simply wants to know who gave the writers that information that Majaivana had died.
“We are more than interested in the source of that information than what the publishing house intends to do. There are also serious historical implications in that page; when you place Oliver Mtukudzi and Majaivana on the same page you are appealing to tribal context and expression. When you then add a caption that Mtukudzi entertained people during the war, and Majaivana entertained people after independence, you imply two things; that Majaivana was not performing before 1980 and second that Ndebele artistes did not participate or add any value to the liberation war.”
The playwright said to avoid such things, Amakhosi has been in negotiations for an MoU with the Primary and Secondary Education ministry since 2017 “to be part of the process to produce history, arts and heritage content for the new competence based curriculum for Zimbabwe schools and to this date that MoU has not been considered nor signed as if no one in government knows what Amakhosi is good at or specialises in”.
“We have been marginalised by our own government in this field for the past years simply because we are in Bulawayo and not in Harare. What drive me crazy are people in government offices who are convinced that Zimbabwe is Harare and the fact that they are in Harare and in government departments, they do it for every Zimbabwean.”