The shallow story with a deep meaning

One day Chicken was sitting under the apple tree. A slight breeze whistled, shaking the boughs of the young apple plant.
Plop! One apple fell with a thud!
“Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!” went Chicken, wings flapping, feathers flying, “the sky has fallen! The sky has fallen! Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!”
As chicken ran, she passed by Goat who was busy foraging the tender leaves of a thorn-tree.
“What’s the problem my friend?” asked Goat.
“The sky has fallen! I’m going to the king to report this incident. Cluck! Cluck! Cluuuuuck!”
“Well, don’t leave me behind, let’s go together!” And along the two went, running down the road leaving a tail of dust. Down the hill was Sheep, suckling her twins.
“Hello, you seem to be in a hurry. Where to?”
“To the king, to tell him the sky has fallen!”
Sheep stopped suckling her lambs and joined. After crossing the river they saw Pig who was busy mud-bathing with his entire clan.
“Hi there.”
“Oh? You are mud-bathing? Haven’t you heard?!”
“What?” retorted Pig
“The sky has fallen!” said Sheep.
“So?” questioned Pig.
“We have to report to the chief,” Sheep said.
“Well I want to go too”, and so Pig joined the entourage.
Up the hill the entourage huffed and puffed. About to reach the peak they saw Cow.
“Moooooo! Where are all of you going?”
“Grunt, Grunt!” replied pig, “to the king to tell him that the sky has fallen.”
“Let’s go together then! Let’s hurry!” Cow joined in.
As they went down the other side of the hill Fox saw them.
“Hello!” No one answered, they ran.
“Hey, where are you going?”
“To the King,” said Cow.
“To do what, when you are empty-handed like this?”
“To tell him that the sky has fallen”
“What!” exclaimed Fox.
“To tell him that the sky has fallen. Are you deaf?” said Cow angrily.
“Everyone stop! Stop now!”, said Fox. They stopped
“Cow, did you see the sky fall?”
No, but Pig saw it.”
“Pig, did you see the sky fall?”
“No,” said Pig, “but sheep and his family saw it with their two own eyes”
“Sheep?”, questioned Fox.
“I didn’t, my close relative Goat did.”
Fox questioned further; “Goat, did you really see the sky fall?”
“No but Chicken saw it and told me first.”
At that moment Chicken replied;
“I didn’t see it fall. I was sitting under the apple tree. The wind came. The sky fell. I heard it fall!”
“That’s terrible. That’s serious news!,” said Fox. “We have to tell the King immediately and this road you are using is far. I know of a shorter route that leads through the bushes.”
So the cunning fox led all these credulous and obsequious animals to his den, where together with his clan, had a feast for weeks.
And the King never got his message that the sky fell.


Q&A with Tari Mtetwa

Who is Tari Mtetwa?

Tari Mtetwa is a Zimbabwean artist working on various media. A visual artist, poet and filmmaker. Studied Film and Television and also English and Communication. I currently live in Harare and apart from personal film productions I lecture Film Studies at the Film and Television School of Southern Africa. I’m passionate about all things art.

What kind of work do you produce?  

“And The Beat Goes On…” is a 73 minute documentary that explores the life and music of Zimbabwe’s music legends late and alive with children who are also pursuing the art. It features the music of Willom and Gary Tight, Andy and Ammara Brown, Leonard Dembo and sons (Tendai and Morgan) Elijah and Safirio Madzikatire and Mechanic Manyeruke and son Guspy Warrior. In cases where the artists are late we interviewed people who worked with them for instance Sam Mataure covered for Andy Brown, Raphael Makwiramiti (L.Dembo’s manager) for Dembo and Chibhodhoro for Mukadota.

How did you come up with this idea?

The idea came after I realised the trend of so many children of artists following their parents’ trade. My question was whether they were really talented as their parents or just something they were forcing. With that background I put together a team and started working on the project.

Four of us worked on the project, Obey Marimo Cinematography and Sound, Thobekile Sibanda – Voice Artist, Kudakwashe Masoka – Editor and myself Producer/Director.

What sources did you use while researching for this work?

I got much of the information from the National Archives of Zimbabwe where I got videos of the artists in the film, their songs and footage of television programmes in which they featured. The artists themselves helped with information they had archived personally. I also interviewed some people who are experts on Zimbabwean music such as Bob Nyabinde and Musa Zimunya (a lecturer and writer)

What challenges did you face?

The biggest challenge was that the National Archives did not have all the footage I would have wanted and the artists themselves at times could not help.

The project was also self-funded so there were budgetary constraints but nothing too big to stop the work from going on.

We also couldn’t secure interviews from some artists we would have loved to include in the project.

Where do we watch your work; Youtube? ZBC?

My work is coming to the small screen soon, on some pay television. I’ve just concluded that deal and that restricts me from uploading it on sites like youtube but as soon as the contract’s bond period is over I’ll upload it.

What more should we expect from you besides documentaries?

From now I’ll be working on more of Zimbabwean art luminaries. Expect to see work on Zim literature at some point.

The End.

From now I’ll be working on more of Zimbabwean art luminaries. Expect to see work on Zim literature at some point.

He said it.

“I am here for as long as I am still sane, with good memory and will power. I thank God for giving me extra strength. I still have a bright mind; I still have will. I know our history more than you do. I know the wishes of those heroes and those who lie elsewhere more than you do. I know the wishes of the chiefs, dead and alive.” – At 6th Zanu PF National People’s Congress, 2014.

Zimbabwean artists, their art and continental awards.

On Saturday, November 29th, African artists with the best music videos were rewarded with awards.

One, and only one Zimbabwean artist, Buffalo Souljah (Thabani Ndlovu) walked away with the Most Gifted in the Dancehall/Ragga Category. This makes him King of African Dancehall. Big up brotherman @BuffaloSouljah1 .

Most artists from the North of Limpopo do not feature that much on the music video channels, as a result they miss out when these awards are handed out.

This begs the question; Why is it most Zimbabwean artists do not feature that much on MtvBase, Channel O and Trace?

One convinient excuse is that MTV and Channel O are a Nigerian and South African affair. It is alleged that South African and Nigerian artists are allocated the lion’s share of airplay on these channels, and the rest of Africa left to share the little time left. I will not dissect this accusation since it needs a bit of research hence a blogpost of its own.

A cursory glance at most Zimbabwean music videos will leave one concluding that the artists should shoulder the blame for being allocated little or no time on these channels. Allow me to highlight a few crimes that our artists commit, that leads to their artistic pieces ending up in the dustbin at Channel O et al.

Most of the music being produced by our artists is of poor quality.The instruments are nor well arranged, the vocals unpolished and the mixing and editing is attrocious. A poor song cannot have a quality video, or should I say a person who produces a poor piece of music cannot miraculously produce a quality video.

Zimbabwean artists need to invest in better cameras. Some of the videos on youtube are grainy and look like they were shot using a VGA cellphone camera. Some are darkish, not enough light on the scene that is being shot.
Such videos do not deserve airplay.

Shooting a video with a quality camera isn’t enough on its own. A quality camera in the hands of an amateur cameraman will not result in a quality video. Besides the camera-work being professional, the video needs to be properly edited. Visuals needs to be added and subtracted from the video to make it interesting. It mustn’t be an ordinary and straight forward video. A good example of a well edited video is Stay Awake by Movip Entertainment.

Quality videos need directors who are creative. It is possible that an artist himself can pen a song and be a director. Such cases are rare, especially in the Zimbabwean context. Most videos that we see are not directed. The artist and friends gather around, sing along while song is played, record clips, stitch them together and post on Youtube or submit to a tv channel. Such behaviour is an insult to the art community, commercial tv stations and consumers of the product. In some instances, the ‘director’ employed is a friend who knows nothing about directing the videos.

A video needs a storyboard. Shooting a video without a storyboard is the same as gropping in the dark. The storyline also has to contexual. We cannot have Hype Williams type of videos comprising of helicopters, jets and Rolls Royce rides cannot surely suit the Zimbabwean context. I also have problems with videos whose storyline is about hijackings and bank robberies, for example, Shingi ft Three Kings video. Where the storyline incorporates such, the acting and effects have to be credible.

Our artists are still a long way from producing quality visuals. For as long as that is the case, they will continue to lose out on the continental and international scene. The 75% favour doesn’t apply when it comes to the international scene.

Chimurenga Tales

The war was painful. Villagers suffered. Villagers died.
It is said that when the Rhodesian Army soldiers came, they beat up parents. They beat up parents for fun and for various ‘crimes’. One of the most common crimes was cooking for ‘terrorists’. Some parents were accused of encouraging their sons of becoming terrorists. A father had to account for his sons. If your son disappears, you would find yourself up to the neck in trouble.
One tale that is told is of one headman whose son ran away into exile to train as a guerrilla fighter. No one knows how the soldiers got wind of the fact but they quickly swarmed the village, rounded up the people at the headman’s house. The headman was beaten to death with a pestle. It is said the soldiers who beat him up were black. They did so under the supervision of white soldiers. Some say as the pestle pounded the head of the bound-up captive, blood and brains flew like sparks off an anvil, and scattered on to the faces of people who sat at the front. They were not allowed to wipe it off. They were not allowed to cry or wince. That, it was said, was to teach them a lesson for letting their sons go into exile to train as terrorists. Also, this would teach a lesson to those contemplating to go into exile what would happen to their parents once they disappear.
Soon as the army cars sped off and the dust barely settled, ‘vanamukoma’, as the guerillas were called, would round up the very same villagers; Who called the soldiers? Who told them what? Who is the sellout? And the beating and killing would continue. One innocent man was pointed out as a sellout. Everyone knew he was innocent. Out of fear, people kept quiet. He was burnt with drippings of burning plastic until he died. Parents were told to queue up, plastic in hand, you dip your plastic in the fire then rush to where the bound up ‘sellout’ was. Only pregnant women and those with suckling babies were spared the ordeal of torturing the bound up ‘m’tengesi’. Many people who were there say they can still detect the pungent smell of burning human flesh in the village air up until today.
This is one of the many Chimurenga tales. Tell me the one(s) you heard.

Said one man to his ego….


Said one man to his ego….

(A dramatic piece filled with irony and truth.)

Dear Ego,

I am sorry we haven’t spoken for a while and I am sure you are feeling neglected. The thing is I have a bit of a dilemma.

I have been doing amazingly well, sorry my dear Ego, I should say, ‘we’ have been doing amazingly well. Of course we both want to celebrate our achievements and encourage other people to celebrate our achievements as well. We want to post selfies, update our status about all the fabulous places we have visited, update our CV, be seen at all the new bars in town, get complimentary tickets and tweet about how fantastic we are. But, Conscience is being grumpy. Conscience says that you and I are now a little ‘out of control’. She is worried that we are putting ourselves at risk by being so…

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The first chapter .

She stood in front of the mirror. Her face was not clear in the morning semi-darkness. An old comb in her hand , some of its ‘teeth ‘ were missing.
“I don ‘t have money for a taxi,”
She spoke to the comb.
Her request, sorry, statement was answered by mumbling under a heap of dirty blankets strewn on the creaking single bed .
She combed faster, cursed at the wiry strands of hair that stuck to the comb.
Some of them had turned grey. No, snowy white.
“You heard what I said,”
This time she spoke to the face- powder can balanced on her thumb and fore-finger.
Another mumbling from the lump under the blankets. No movement.
In one swift twirl she was at the door. Burst out, and her thick, gumbooted feet stamped furiously on to windswept , dusty yard .
“Melinda ! Melinda ! Uyaphi manje?”
He stood at the door bare-footed. His oversided stomach peeked from under the old t -shirt that was his pyjamas.
The giggling sounds of children clad in uniform and back- packs strapped on their backs reminded him that his hairy legs were bare up to the croach, where a threadbare piece of what used to be underwear covered . . .