Shingai’s return awakens liberation struggle memories

Shingai Shoniwa

UNITED Kingdom (UK)-based Zimbabwean musician and guitarist, Shingai Shoniwa was enthralled to return home to perform at the recent Eureka Eureka album launch at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) on December 31 with her song with Winky D dropping two days later.

While one of the highlights of the Eureka Eureka album launch was Winky D’s energetic live performance featuring local artistes, his introduction of an unfamiliar lady Shingai, was a welcome surprise for the fans.

Shingai and Winky D worked together on a song titled Dzimba Dzemabwe, which has stirred controversy and heated cultural and political discussions across social media platforms. In the song, the two personified the 1890s First Chimurenga heroine and hero Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi.

Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style, Shingai said it was important for her and Winky D to personify the positive attributes of the two ancient royal leaders, which they felt was missing in today’s narrative.

“The themes we wanted to highlight in the video for Dzimba Dzemabwe, which we felt might have been missed yet important, is the beauty of the lives that were lived by our forefathers, especially the two icons Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi,” she said.

“Often, the two leaders are portrayed in the worst ways through mug shots of them hanging or in captivity. That has repeatedly traumatised many of us,” she added.

According to Shingai, of late, artefacts and pictures are emerging from the colonial museums which show the beauty of Zimbabwe and other African countries.

“To me, it not only means that the bones are rising again, but I believe those pictures and artefacts were kept away from us to hide evidence of the greatness of our Kingdoms. Therefore, I hope the video for Dzimba Dzemabwe showing Sekuru Kaguvi and Mbuya Nehanda in a positive light will help Zimbabweans to rediscover the other side of our past.”

Shingai’s parents were directly involved in the country’s 1970s liberation war, which saw her family being exiled to the UK.

Explaining that it was quite easy for her to collaborate with Winky D since the message aligned with her passion as an artiste, she said: “My twin sister and I had to learn how to recite all the names of our hero’s including those from other African countries as Biko and Nkrumah. My parents feared that we would forget what they fought for since we were living in an isolated community.

“I am pan-African; I am a believer of all things for African progress. During my performance with Winky D at the HICC my knees weakened as I was about to get on stage. It felt like my dream was being fulfilled.”

Shingai acknowledged that returning to Zimbabwe for the album launch was fulfilling since she always wanted to preach the message of patriotism to fellow countryfolk.

“It’s an honour to be back here in the country of my heritage, to where I attribute most of my craft if not all. As someone who was born and raised where expectations were quite low for black people and black woman, I always wanted to do something of positive influence,” she added.

Shingai’s first performance in Zimbabwe was at the Harare International Festival of Arts in 2013. She performed with her London-based group called Noisettes.

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