A pen, pencil or any piece of school stationery is all it will take to witness some of the top acts that turned the Zimbabwean music scene on its head at the turn of the century, with stars that pioneered the genre set to perform at a charity gig to be held at Long Chen Plaza in Harare on June 2.
The names Sniper, Leonard Mapfumo, Sani Makhalima, ExQ, Roki, Shinsoman, Extra-large, DJ Dscord, Mafriq, Ngoni Kambarami and Pauline read like a who’s who list of some of the country’s urban grooves scene, the genre that introduced Zimbabwean music to the 21st century with a bang.
While all the above mentioned acts have fared differently in their careers since the decline of urban grooves, rarely have they been seen on stage together in the last few years.
Now fans will get a chance to see those acts and almost a dozen others at a gig organised by Beacon of Hope, a welfare organisation based in the capital.
Entrance for the blockbuster concert, running under the theme “Nhaka Yohupenyu”, will be free with revellers only required to bring either a pen, pencil, exercise book, mathematical set or any other piece of stationary that could be of academic use for school going children.
“The benefit show, to be held under the theme ‘Nhaka Yohupenyu’, aims to raise as much stationery as possible to assist about 250 children. Our theme is derived from an entrenched belief that education is not only a right for every child but a heritage,” said artiste and Beacon Of Hope vice president Leonard Mapfumo.
The musician added that the idea for the concert came after the realisation that getting stationary for pupils was an uphill task for most families who were already struggling to come up with the school fees in economically challenging times.
“The idea to hold a musical gig of this nature came from the realisation that less fortunate families and orphanages were struggling to raise enough school fees for their children, let alone stationery, a key tool in every child’s learning programme.
Most children have either dropped out or achieved below par results as a result of the circumstances highlighted above.
The Department of Social Welfare has, as a result of prevailing economic challenges, found itself overwhelmed by charity cases. As Beacon of Hope we thus find ourselves obligated to assist in every way possible,” Mapfumo’s statement read.
Underprivileged communities have contributed their fair share of stars to the local music scene over the years, with a number of urban grooves stars having also been raised in crippling poverty. Such a harsh upbringing, Mapfumo said, had motivated them to volunteer their services for this particular gig.
“The artistes, who have agreed to perform for free, share a similar moral compulsion as most of them are from the ghetto thus can relate to the difficult circumstances being experienced.
“However, this show will not be a success in terms of its main objective to raise stationery, without your support and mine. This is the first time we are hosting such an event and our dream is to make this an annual event.”