12 December 2021
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By Dr Masimba Mavaza | His name has become the Zimbabwean term for “traitor.” He’s the country’s own Judas, a man who sold out his country and his cause for a handful of silver. Or maybe he is an invincible warrior who finally exposes a fatal weakness.

Thomas Mapfumo

The story of Thomas Tafirenyika Mapfumo lends itself to classic drama. He might have been the hero of the Revolution, exhibiting immense courage and leadership in songs and poems.

Thomas Mapfumo was imprisoned without charges under the white-dominated regime of Rhodesia. He enjoyed the hero status after independence taking the poll position as a great singer in the country and region. Mapfumo mingled himself in crime and he was hounded by the law. He lived in self exile in the United States for two decades,and in April 2018, returned to Zimbabwe for the first time since 2005 to perform a concert. Despite his treasonous utterances Mapfumo was never arrested. The new dispensation allowed him a free passage. He was to be seen at the funeral of another icon Mutukudzi.

Mapfumo’s songs kept the Revolution alive. But after becoming broke and out of touch with reality he later turned traitor, almost managing to hand over the nation to the Western world he had fought viciously before.

Popular opinion has simply exiled him as a “bad” man not worth thinking much about.

Thomas Tafirenyika Mapfumo (born July 3, 1945)[1] is a musician nicknamed “The Lion of Zimbabwe” and “Mukanya” for his immense popularity and for the political influence he wields through his music. He both created and made popular Chimurenga music, and his slow-moving style and distinctive voice is instantly recognisable to Zimbabweans.

But now his legacy is being marred in controversy. Mapfumo has managed to crush his legacy and carelessly chuck it in the bin.
Mapfumo’s story has much more complexity than most people realize, he is a good example of from hero to zero. From a patriot to a traitor. What exactly is a traitor? A traitor is one who betrays another’s trust or is false to an obligation or duty,one who commits treason Mapfumo has been called a traitor to the zimbabwe’s cause.

It is no doubt that Mapfumo has
betrayed beliefs that he used to hold, or that his friends hold, by his words and actions.
Thomas Mapfumo is one who betrays one’s country, a cause, or a trust, especially one who commits treason.

Zimbabwe today has very little appetite for complex thinking. We see good or evil, black or white. You’re for us or against us. Mapfumo has shown all that he is against us as a country and he has become a traitor.

Last week Thomas Mapfumo spoke an incitement to the young people of Zimbabwe saying they must not allow their destiny to be run by criminals.

While on his South Africa tour, Mapfumo spoke with a voice full of malice aforethoughts saying the people’s Kingdom is on earth not in the afterlife, for which purpose they must seize the moment before it’s too late. This was not only blasphemous but treasonous.

“Down here on earth is where your Kingdom is.

Down here on earth is where our Kingdom is located, so if we fail to eat with others, while others go hungry, that’s not what we want…Get out of your houses, and remove these scarfed people, because they’re the ones making you poor“ Mapfumo said in direct reference to the President Mnangagwa’s trademark scarf in national colours.
The utterances by Mapfumo are seditious and indeed inciting the youth to a rebellious outfit.

Mapfumo has fallen from grace and its sad he falters at a very old age. It is not clear if Mapfumo has been struck by a bolt of dementia. He now exercises his verbal diarrhoea. His careless talk is dangerous and indeed criminal.

He was by far the most successful motivator during the war. He had a messianic following among his fans and his country. Mapfumo’s story shows that “life is much more complex. Indeed, “complex” and “fascinating” seem to be popular adjectives used to describeMapfumo but disgusting is the description given by those who’ve looked closely at his life.

Mapfumo was a fearless warrior and a self-made man who supported the cause of freedom financially as well as on the battlefield. The mystery of why he became a traitor is what makes baffles all.
Mapfumo said “Remove them; chase them out because they are the ones making you poor. If you keep silent fearing death, it’s going to fail on your side; You are going to spend the next 100 years. As for us, we’ll be gone.”

This was promoting people into violence. It is not a revolutionary speech but a speech of a lunatic who is lost and yearning for blood.
Mapfumo has gone broke and he is seeking relevance with those who host him. He is to be seen as an outspoken speaker against the Zimbabwean government. Mapfumo is no-longer getting the large audiences he used to get. His life style has changed.

His circumstances are now different. It simply says these are the circumstances that sometimes produce the most extraordinary and contradictory forms of human behavior. Someone who has [nearly] given his life fighting for Zimbabwe independence ends up trying to put an end to Zimbabwean independence. How does that happen?” It is a tragedy.

There is a sharp contrast between a real hero and a traitor like Thomas Mapfumo n
In the end, the contrast between Mapfumo and a true hero is very clear. It is a question of honour and patriotism. When a hero encountered a problem, he ask himself, ‘What is good for the country?’ When a traitor like Mapfumo encountered a problem, it’s ‘What is good for me?’
“The comparison of those two personalities shows the difference between what we would like to think of as the Zimbabwean spirit.
Thomas Mapfumo is the hero who has gone rogue.

On September 21, 1780, Revolutionary War hero Benedict Arnold turned his back on his country in a secret meeting with a top British official. So how did Arnold, with his patriot’s pedigree, become the most hated man in America?

Zimbabwe is in no doubt as to Why Thomas Mapfumo became a traitor: greed; mounting debt; resentment of other singers a hatred of the nation Zimbabwe and a desire for the colonies to remain under British rule.

In criminal law, incitement is the encouragement of another person to commit a crime. Depending on the jurisdiction, some or all types of incitement may be illegal. Where illegal, it is known as an inchoate offense, where harm is intended but may or may not have actually occurred. ..
Thomas Mapfumo is inciting not for anybody’s benefit but for his own pocket. It is shameful for a man of his stature to stoop so low just for his supper.

Mapfumo has been overtaken by events. Zimbabwe has moved steps ahead. We are now in a new dispensation and things have changed. Mapfumo has to grow up and wake up.
We change governments by votes and not by violence.
Zimbabwe says to Mapfumo Shame on you.
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