Zim, Rwandan musicians collaborate MafiReign (left) and Lio pose after video shoot

Arts Reporter

While much has been publicised with regards to the flourishing economic and political ties between Zimbabwe and Rwanda, the entertainment scene has not been talked about in the same vein. 

Yet, cooperation in arts and culture between the two countries is another area that is being exploited to increase people-to-people exchanges, including at the lower levels. 

Recently, two gospel artistes Tendai Mafireyi from Zimbabwe and Lionel Cyusa from Rwanda collaborated to produce a song simply titled “Uko”. 

The video accompanying the song, which was released recently not only on social media, but also on television, was produced and recorded by Yellow Trash Can. 

In an interview, gospel hip hop musician Mafireyi, affectionately known as MafiReign, said he chose to collaborate with Cyusa (Lio) because of their great friendship and wanted their music to spread. 

“Music is universal,” he said. “The collaboration was long overdue as we have been friends with Lio. So we decided to do a song together so that we extend our fan base, hence promoting the two cultures. 

“We released the song a couple of months ago and due to the Covid-19 pandemic the production of the video shoot was delayed. We are happy that so far it is receiving overwhelming response, good feedback, especially from the fans.” 

Mafireyi said music was his passion and with the gospel hip-hop genre they were much more accepted and appreciated compared to yesteryear. 

“I like to have fun and at the same time praise God,” he said. “The song “Uko” encompasses those two facets of my character. 

“So far, the main challenge is getting traction. I try to make quality music videos, but this then limits the quantity, which makes it harder to get traction since people respond to more quantity. 

“I named the song “Uko” which means “There” and it is an afrobeat gospel, fused with rap.” 

Commenting on the video script, Mafireyi said: “The video features scenes of dancing and  casual bike riding. It also features a striking scene where a blindfolded MafiReign, wearing priestly garments, has wings of fire and a fire dancer in his vicinity. 

“This represents how the spirit can guide and protect us when we are oblivious about what is going on in our surroundings.” 

Mafireyi explained that the video tried to illustrate how they were joyous with God’s love, mercy and protection.

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