Talent Bope–Arts Reporter
For the past decades, Independence Day was celebrated in every province with people thronging various places to witness parades, traditional dances, singing, and fireworks to mark the day.
This year was different, as everything was done virtually due to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The virtual celebrations proved their merit, especially as shown, first by the children’s party held at State House on Saturday, then the Independence musical gala on Saturday night and the main event at State House yesterday.
Music played a pivotal role during Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence, and it also played a role in the 41 Independence celebrations this year.
War songs provoked people’s thoughts, feelings and mood to fight for the liberation of the country. Slogans, songs and music that was sung and performed during the war of liberation instilled hope in the liberation fighters and the masses, as they gave them the strength to continue fighting until the attainment of independence.
The war songs that were inextricably linked to the hard-fought struggle were the bedrock of boosting the fighters’ morale.
Even in the post-independence era, people still exhibit their patriotism through songs and dances.
Despite the effects of Covid-19, people were never be discouraged in celebrating their hard-won independence through a virtual music gala held at the Harare International Conference Centre in Harare on Saturday night.
This year’s celebrations were running under the theme “[email protected] together growing our economy for a prosperous, resilient and inclusive society”.
The theme corresponds with the country’s national goals and Vision 2030 of attaining an upper middle Income economy by 2030.
Sungura musician Loveness Mainato took to the stage early, setting the pace with her group of dancers displaying their energetic dancing skills.
The gala was graced by Cabinet ministers – Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry and Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo, who is the chairman of the Uhuru gala organising committee.
Speaking at the gala, Minister Mutsvangwa said the celebrations mood was not deterred by the Covid-19.
“The mood of celebration can not be taken away by the effects of Covid-19. Let’s celebrate the supreme sacrifice of our gallant heroes and heroines who fought for this country,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“Music brings people together, celebrating independence means a lot to us. Tomorrow (yesterday) is a big day, let’s celebrate what we fought for. We fought for equal opportunities for all.
“It is time to think about those who sacrificed their lives. All Zimbabweans, militarily and civilians, it was a collective effort.”
Minister Coventry said the Independence gala was one of the platforms for musicians to showcase their works in the advent of Covid-19.
“Artistes were not able to perform live shows owing to the outbreak of Covid-19. Musicians were severely affected and they have real challenges,” she said.
Minister Coventry commended musicians for being instrumental in spreading the message of the effects of Covid-19 and the vaccination programme.
“Musicians have been very instrumental in spreading the message of vaccination programmes being rolled out by the Government and the effects of the coronavirus,” said Minister Coventry.
“Better platforms are being created for our artistes to access their fans and this platform, the Independence gala, is one of them.”
The musical galas will continue until the end of this month, being held in various provinces.
Another good performance came from Amos Mahendere, who brought the event to more life with his song “Zadzisa Chirevo.”
As veteran gospel musician Mechanic Manyeruke took to the stage with a well-polished performance, all Cabinet ministers rose to their feet, being mesmerised by the seasoned gospel guru.
Senator Mutsvangwa joined another gospel music singer, Agatha Murudzwa, on stage, singing the song “Mweya Wangu Pfuura Nesimba”.
Speaking to The Herald yesterday, Murudzwa thanked the Government for the platform they were accorded after a long break.
She said interacting with other musicians would enable exchange of views and skills despite their different genres.
“As we interact as musicians, we share ideas despite our diverse in type of music, we learn from each other as well as sharing skills. This is how we grow,” said Murudzwa.
At 12am, marking April 18, the Independence Day, there was a fireworks display at the venue.
Sunguru kingpin Alick Macheso backed by Orchestra Mberikwazvo reignited the mood of the celebrations with a polished performance that saw the few essential service providers at the gala joining in dancing.
Macheso left viewers at home yearning for more, as it seemed his allocated time was too short.
Iyasa dancing group spokesperson Mercy Kayumba said they were humbled to be invited to perform at such an occasion.
“As young people, we feel very humbled to perform at such big events. We are very happy to perform on such a big day, the birthday of our country, it’s such an honour,” said Kayumba.
The group also put up a polished performance.
Romeo Gasa and his group, Extra Valembe, took the virtual concert by storm, especially with his dancers displaying nimble skills.
He said he never expected to perform at such an event during these times of Covid-19, a disease that has restricted musicians from holding live shows
“I’m so excited to see myself taking the stage after such a long period of time due to coronavirus,” said Gasa.
“It is a trying time for musicians, some were affected by Covid-19 to the extent that they were forced to relocate to rural areas.”
Mark Ngwazi, who celebrated his 33rd birthday yesterday, used the opportunity to introduce his new song Nherera, which he expects to release soon.
The rising sungura star gave a good account by performing some of his popular songs.