Lion Songs: Thomas Mapfumo and the Music That Made Zimbabwe
Banning Eyre is a freelance writer and guitarist and the senior editor and producer of the public radio program Afropop Worldwide. He is the author of In Griot Time: An American Guitarist in Mali, Playing With Fire: Fear and Self-Censorship in Zimbabwean Music, and Guitar Atlas: Africa, and the coauthor of AFROPOP! An Illustrated Guide to Contemporary African Music. Eyre is a contributor to National Public Radio's All Things Considered, and his writing has been published in Billboard, Guitar Player, Salon.com, the Boston Phoenix, CMJ, Option, Folk Roots, Global Rhythm, and other publications. He has also performed and recorded with Thomas Mapfumo.
Agony of Victory
In this chapter, the war ends, the guerrillas and their leaders return from exile in Zambia and Mozambique, and the fateful 1980 election is held, making Robert Mugabe and his ZANU party the overwhelmingly popular leaders of a new nation, Zimbabwe. In this context, Mapfumo struggles to maintain his career, now tarnished by the Muzorewa episode. The chapter concludes with a detailed description of the April 1980 independence celebration at Rufaro Stadium. Bob Marley heads up a long roster of entertainment and pageantry, events that are interrupted when crowds outside the stadium attempt to force their way in and are rebuffed with clouds of tear gas that drive Marley and his band from the stage. ZANU officials continually delay the performance by Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited. Embittered but proud, the band finally plays for a smattering of guerrilla fighters and supporters as the sun rises.