Mau Mau is a Zimbabwean hip hop musician and one of the genre's pioneers in the country.
He was born Shingirayi Sabeta in a family of seven, and hails from Chiendambuya in Headlands. He has been in the music industry since 1990. The choice of the name Mau Mau pointed to a celebration of the storied anti-colonial resistance in Kenya, while calling one album Aluta Continua and naming his label Marcus Garvey Records all pointed to more than bluster and swagger. His hip-hop songs were imbued with a historical awareness that was appallingly lacking in most of the urban grooves productions that came at the turn of the millennium as an inadequate successor to early hip-hop.
Mau Mau began his music career in the late 1990s with his debut single Mau Mau which was released in 1997. His music reflects on issues of struggles, dreams, aspirations and black pride. He became popular with his Blackness song which featured the late Prince Tendai. Some of his albums include M’fecane (2001), Coup d’etat (2002) and Aluta Continua.
His early recordings defined Shona rap and was acclaimed for its politically conscious lyrics. Today, Shingirayi produces Gospel Hip Hop and his latest album appeared in 2010. He had a presentation at the Hiphop Symposium that took place at the University of Zimbabwe on February 27th, 2013, which was a personal reflection about the Zimbabwean Hip Hop scene, its beginnings in the 1980s and the directions it was taking. He has six albums to his name, two of them collaborations he did in South Africa in 2009.
Mau Mau is dead. Shingirayi Sabeta is born again. The change has been slow in coming, but there have always been signs that beneath the machismo is a deep thinker, one who feels deeply about issues. The change to all-out Christianity started in 2004, but Sabeta found himself struggling between Catholicism and African traditional practices. It was an identity crisis, and he was asking himself: “Ndiani Mau Mau?”