Thomas Mapfumo has ruled out an imminent return to Zimbabwe from his United States exile — because he does not want to take money from the poor.
“I live and perform in the United States to people who have their own means. A lot of people have been suggesting it would be better if I went back to Zimbabwe, but how do I ask people who are struggling to just get by to pay to watch me sing? I couldn’t do it,” the Chimurenga star told New Zimbabwe.com at the end of his UK tour on Sunday.
The 67-year-old singer says performing to a famished audience will not bring him any pleasure.
“The idea of driving around in a lovely car in a sea of poverty just doesn’t sit well with me,” he went on.
“I look at people like Phillip Chiyangwa who boast about their wealth, if he has such kind of money why doesn’t he come to Hollywood?”
Mapfumo said his return to Zimbabwe was unlikely with President Robert Mugabe still in charge. He blames the 88-year-old leader of turning Zimbabwe into a basket case during his uninterrupted 32-year rule through corruption and mismanagement.
“My hope is that those who have been voting Zanu PF will remove those blinkers at the next elections and change the course of our country,” Mapfumo says.
Mapfumo (67) has not returned to Zimbabwe since 2004 after exiling himself to Eugene, Oregon.
He has previously said that he fears for his life if he returns to Zimbabwe due to his strong political views about Zanu PF and its leader.