The family of the Light Machine Gun (LMG) choir founding member, Lichani Moyo, who disappeared mysteriously a few years after independence, is reported to be wallowing in abject poverty.
The former freedom fighter’s compositions were still being used for political mileage yet the family was not receiving anything in return.
Moyo was allegedly abducted by unknown people from Germ Farm in Beitbridge on February 4 1984.
The LMG was the official Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army musical group which was formed in 1978 in Zambia by Moyo, Mawuda Sibata and Give Nare, according to former group members.
Moyo’s eldest son Mbilayelo told NewsDay that initially the group was named after its founders.
“They named it after their first names; ‘L’ standing for Lichani, ‘M’ standing for Mawuda and ‘G’ standing for Give. After it was realised that their compositions had an impact in politics they changed the name to mean Light Machine Gun,” said Mbilayelo.
“My father was the major composer of most songs which you hear being played at (national) galas and even on radio (and TV). We are not benefiting from his compositions. It pains us to hear my father’s songs being played on important national events yet he and his family is not even recognised and my father is lying where we do not even know.”
He said most of the documents and copies of his father’s compositions were destroyed during Gukurahundi and that had made it difficult for the family to claim ownership of his compositions.
One of Moyo’s passionate compositions is the song entitled Kubuhlungu Emoyeni.
Mbilayilo said most of Ndebele songs by LMG choir were composed by his father while Nare was interested in singing Sotho songs.
“We are not against surviving members benefiting from the songs, but we are just interested in also benefiting from our father’s works like other members (intended beneficiaries),” he said.
Moyo is survived by four sons and wife Florence.
LMG choir patron Sikhanyiso Ndlovu on Wednesday said in 1980 the choir had gone underground due to political tension.
“In 1980 to 1981, there was no longer any LMG choir because group members had disappeared due to politics while some had died. When I noticed that other people started using the songs, I looked for some of the members and advised them to regroup so that I assist them revive the group,” said Ndlovu.
“When I was a Minister of Information, I made it a point that they were not left out in national galas so that they get exposure. Even at the moment they are getting nothing. I have advised them to register with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe so that they start benefiting,” he said.
Ndlovu said making noise about the issue would destroy chances of the group gaining from commercial ventures (through royalties).