In a room with murals of popular local musicians on the walls at the Zimbabwe College of Music, Outspoken, Tha Humble Neophyte, real name Tongai Leslie Makawa, suddenly waves his hands in the air and halts the rehearsal.
An innovative performance poet and rapper, Outspoken enters a momentary meditative pause and, self assuredly, explains to the drummer of his three men band about the pattern of the beat.
The drummer proffers his opinion while Outspoken listens attentively, and then proceeds to do a rapid drum roll.
The beat has an orchestra feel to it, suddenly all the band members take turns to give their thoughts about the beat.
Out of the mix of all the thoughts, opinions and ideas, the beat takes shape as Outspoken spits rhymes and the rehearsal assumes a life of its own in a playful, spontaneous fashion.
Outspoken is by far one of the most lyrically conscious emcees to emerge out of Zimbabwe in the past decade.
For him, the sky is certainly the limit.
His fusion of spoken word poetry, rap and hip hop touches on a plethora of social issues.
His desire to be a poet dates back to early childhood, during which he had rather unconventional ideas.
“It always puzzled me how education was like an imposition of other individuals’ thought patterns and ideologies,” he recalls.
He draws influences from life and personal experiences, something that makes his work a self-discovery in nature.