TALENTED, but often underrated artiste Progress Chipfumo —famous for his social commentary — has released a single that tells the story of the experiences of thousands of families at Chingwizi Transit Camp in Masvingo after the Tokwe-Mukosi dam floods.
The song, a mellow and soft kind-of-reggae piece, starts with an acoustic guitar that is immediately backed by repetitively rolling drums, a moderate, but tight bassline, electronic keyboard synthesis and other harmonising instruments that go on for 42 seconds when a calm and natural Chipfumo interrupts with his first line: “Mai nevana kumusana, mbuya netuzukuru, vagere zvakanaka . . .”
It is at this point that Progress, like a storywriter, paints a picture of life before the Tokwe-Mukosi floods. In a few words, he explicitly tells a story of villagers who were living a happy, normal life — mothers carrying their babies and grannies blissfully spending rural moments with grandchildren.
Then, without warning, floods came and there was bararamhanya, pandemonium and inexpressible agony all over.
Houses were destroyed, families and friends got separated as a result, he sings.
Once a self-sufficient community, Tokwe-Mukosi villagers became a humanitarian case overnight.
Statistics show that over 18 000 people are living at Chingwizi and are entirely reliant on aid.
Although government and non-governmental organisations have assisted, there is still need for more to be done to meet the victims’ humanitarian needs.
So, at 22 seconds, after the second minute, chanter Potato comes in to recite, in his raspy and gruff voice, the problems faced by Tokwe-Mukosi flood victims.
He goes on to appeal for sendi-sendi [cent by cent] assistance.
The narrative goes on, Progress — who participated in last week’s Zimrights Tokwe-Mukosi benefit concert and has been to the Chingwizi camp on a musicians’ tour — progresses by singing about the need to look at the future of the children of Chingwizi
floods whose education and other needs have been affected by the floods.
A Sounds of the Motherland smooth-voiced female band member enters with a divine touch, quoting Bible lines: “There is much happiness in giving than receiving.”
All in the name of love, God shall give blessings to those who help the Chingwizi victims, goes on the song.
In line with the “cent-by-cent” form of assistance, Progress quotes a famous saying about a teaspoon emptying a huge sack of sugar and urges people to take it teaspoon-by-teaspoon to fill the needs of the flood victims.
“Teaspoon yakapedza saga reshuga tikadzorera rinozara”
Progress, a musician who grew up in a separated family, said in an interview: “As someone who understands how it is like to live from hand-to-mouth, it is my hope that the song raises awareness about the needs of the flood victims.”
“I did the song with a personal passion, hoping that it touches the hearts of those who can assist.”