The Mbare Chimurenga Choir is a Mbare based music group which consists of forty members. The group made headlines in the music circles with songs such as "Nyatsoteerera unzwe kutonga" and "Simukai tiverengane". The group has been in the music circles for quite some time and consists of both males and females. There were also some music videos that the group came up with to go with their songs and they also received widespread airplay on ZBC TV. The group rose to prominence through their energetic dances which were a common characeristic of their videos
It is said the formation of the Mbare Chimurenga Choir was the brainchild of Elizabeth Madzimure Bwanya. The group is registered as the Mbare Chimurenga Choir and its main goal is to promote the revolutionary spirit.
Factionalism and the Mbare Chimurenga Choir
In the alleged cases of factionalism that rocked the revolutionary party, the Mbare Chimurenga Choir was also caught up in the ensuing wave of suspensions and re admissions that took place. It was reported that ZANU PF leaders such as Tendai Savanhu were at the forefront of fanning factionalism and divisions within the ZANU PF party. At the instigation of Tendai Savanhu, it is said that some 31 members of the Mbare Chimurenga Choir were suspended from all party activities. The members of the group claimed that they had been pushed out through the connivance of Cde Tendai Savanhu, Cde Onismo Gore and Ambassador Amos Midzi, who accused them of selling out yet it was all in a bid to propel the Pamela Tsvanhu-led Mbare Chimurenga Choir. After the suspension of the members from the party, it took another disciplinary hearing in which the suspended members were cleared of all charges. The Acting Disciplinary Committee Chairperson, Shadreck Mashayamombe is said to have noted that re-admission of the members is in line with strengthening the party following the sound advice from the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe to deal decisively with factionalism. The other suspensions that had been effected were also nullified on the basis that they defied a politiburo directive to halt all suspensions until further notice.
Controversies and Scandals
The group has been at the centre of criticism from certin sections of the society for their dances and lyrical content alike. The Union for Sustainable Democracy called on the Unity Government to prohibit the blatantly partisan music of the Mbare Chimurenga Choir from being aired on state radio and television. Without any doubt, the song Nyatsoteerera is intentionally provocative. It was argued that the lyrical content of the songs did was not conducive for the spirit of togetherness and cooperation which the partners in the Government of National Unity were trying to encourage. It was also reported that regardless of the fact that ZANU PF was in a political union with the two MDC formations, the songs were belittling the other parties while at the same time praising ZANU PF. The group was also criticised in some sections of the media for their alleged sexually suggestive dances in some of their videos. Much of the criticism directed towards the lyrical content of the Mbare Chimurenga Choir was largely due to the fact that they were played in the context of the Government of National Unity, a time at which Zimbabweans were generally expected to work together and move Zimbabwe forward for the greater good of everyone regardless of political affiliation.
Individual group members were also caught up in their own controversial circumstances. It was reported that one of the group members by the name of Fungai Nyamande was alleged by the husband to be doing nothing but stay at home with other group members and gossip. The husband is alleged to have said that he suspected that his wife was having an extra marital affair.
After initially having launched their music journey with a group membership of sixty seven band members, the group witnessed a split in which the splinter group walked away and went on to continue using the name Mbare Chimurenga Choir. There were accusations and counter accusations of misappropriating the funds of the group. The splinter group was led by Pamela Tswanhu. The matter also spilled to the courts with the other group led by Elizabeth Bwanya suing the other group for using the name which did not belong to them. Bwanya sought to have the Tswanhu led group to be barred from using the name but the matter was dismissed after Bwanya failed to turn up for the court hearing. The feud between the two groups was said to be so bad such that there were allegations of one group attempting to disconnect power when the other group was about to go on stage.
Group Leader and Members
- Elizabeth Madzimure Bwanya
Mbare Chimurenga mainly comprises of vegetable and hardware vendors operating in Mbare Musika hence every member of the group contributes about $15 each time they record music.
- Zanu PF Harare re-admits 31 members ZBC, Published: November 18, 2014, Retrieved: December 16, 2014
- Farai Kavirimirwa Fight over name ‘Mbare Chimurenga Choir’, The Herald, Published: May 17, 2013, Retrieved: December 16, 2014 Cite error: Invalid
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- Harare province defies politiburo directive, The Herald, Published: October 15, 2014, Retrieved: December 16, 2014
- Mbare Chimurenga Choir songs must be banned, Nehanda Radio, Published: July 28, 2010, Retrieved: December 16, 2014
- Ngoshi, Hazel Tafadzwa; Mutekwa, Anias The Female Body and Voice in Audiovisual Political Propaganda Jingles: The Mbare Chimurenga Choir Women in Zimbabwe's Contested Political Terrain, Questia, Published: April 2013, Retrieved: December 16, 2014
- Jingles Played With Malevolent Intent, Financial Gazette, Published: August 27, 2010, Retrieved: December 16, 2014