Friday, 3 September 2010

Freshlyground: Mugs too Chicken to Change?


In collaboration with the cartoonist, Zapiro, Freshlyground, one of CapeTown's feel-good funk bands released yesterday, 'Chicken to Change?', a cheeky song challenging President Mugabe to give up power. (If you think you don't know Freshlyground, think Shakira. They were the South African group found purely by chance to sing backing vocals on Waka Waka).

On the one hand I'm thoroughly amused by the thought of George Charamba, Mugabe's pressman foaming at the mouth and threatening any broadcaster who dares play the song in Zimbabwe with imprisonment under POSA (Public Order and Security Act: a draconian censorship law maintained from the colonial days (so much for African nationalism, huh)), and he's prob'ly on the phone to Bra Juju Malema trying to get Freshlyground, 'the bloody agents!', arrested under the proposed censorship laws in S.A - that the legislation's not yet been passed is besides the point, OTOH there are two things I'm uncomfortable with/dislike: a. that it's cute and rather simplistically positions Mugabe as 'the problem' when the situation's more complex than that and if Freshlyground are going to invoke 1980 in their video then, the expectation of a little more is warranted - no? Or maybe not, perhaps I'm r--e--e--e--a--a--a-c-h-i-n-g for things, and should just go with my initial reaction which was and still is, it's a really kif song!  ... but there's side b. which is less about the song and more about reception: that this may give more ammo to a particular group of Rhodesians as they call themselves (to be distinguished from White Zimbabweans), these are White settlers 'in exile' still moaning about the good old days before Mugabe became Hitler and how they wish the Blacks had never taken power in the first place. Checkout this picture of Zapiro's Mugabe and imagine what an old Rhodie might think:

jacked from the Zapiro FBook Group.
Sho 'nuff it's a funny caricature and would prob'ly make a great postage stamp, but there's also alot more that could be read into it. Of course artists shouldn't be censored from making art on the basis that it could incite a few nutheads out there, both the die-hard Mugabe loyalists who would see this as disrespectful representation and the Rhodies, who in the context of negative press Mugs has rightly n wrongly recieved, never hesitate to trot out their 'Mugabe the Baboon' images. Obviously I'm not trying to put this on Zapiro or Freshlyground, I'm thinking out loud out, or at least trying to...

...Moving on, if we still have a forceful opposition in Zimbabwe, not the newly come fat cats enjoying the ministerial perks of an inclusive government and not the ones who see the inclusive goverment through rose-tinted spectacles, compliments of Tsvangson Opticians, but the real members of the opposition, doing hard graft in the trenches whose slogan is Chinjai Maitiro (Change Your Ways) they will know how to use this song to invigorate the populace. And if they can't/don't maybe, Mugs will prove he isn't too chicken to change and giveup coz his body's weary.
 Checkout The Grauniad for more info on the video.


Jay said...

Why the hesitation to say your thoughts? Just think and say out loud fully.

KonWomyn said...

I have said my thoughts, I prefer for them to be half-formed because that's how I feel. I like the song, but then there's all this other stuff that goes with it, it doesnt take away from my liking the song, but it does make me what end? Jah knows.

Anonymous said...

I feel you sisi wami. Its hella funny, but it's a feel-good liberal's anthem. Si cabanga, too much? Its going viral over here.


Anonymous said...

Yes. You are thinking too hard ST, 'feel-good liberals' can send effective messages.

I agree with what you say about the Rhodies KonWomyn, but like you said it's not Zapiro's responsibility.


PS Where's my reply?

KonWomyn said...


If there is effective purpose to satire and poking fun at ourselves through music, then quite clearly Freshlyground got that memo.

Effective liberals - LOL y'killing me, liberal's a swearword for middle class intellectuals in some parts of the world.

No, if this is thinking too much, ignoring the ambivalence and ambigousness created by satire is a form of self-censorship and an inability to think critically. George Orwell would shake his head at you.

KonWomyn said...

PS Check you email.


Firestarter! Jst say watchu fink m8!

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