In the midst of the current Zimbabwean crisis, the Pop group Shava Afrika released ‘Our lives matter (Zimbabwe)‘, a clear sign of solidarity with the movement #Zimbabweanlivesmatter. They dedicate the song to “Zimbabweans spread across the world longing for a free Zimbabwe“.
In the first minute, we listen to an extract of an interview with Joshua Nkomo, then ZAPU chairman. In March 1983, Nkomo’s house in Bulawayo was attacked by the notorious Fifth Brigade, a military unit that was highly politicized and trained by the North Korean army. The attack left three people dead. Asked about his motive to leave his home country, Nkomo said: “It was a question of threat to my life. I had to live, I had to be somewhere, in order that I am able to try and help in settling the problem that had arisen.”
The tracks links historical feelings of disenchantment with Zimbabweans’ emotions today. As in 1983, Zimbabweans are again faced with political institutions that promised change but are again failing, or as the band state it: “A system that was meant to bring hope has now taken away hope“.
The lyrics mirror the disappointment and disorientation that comes with life in exile, where it becomes difficult to influence the political situation in the home county: “Living a life where you don’t know/ Where you belong/ I’m carrying broken dreams / Constantly searching for/ Where, I don’t know“. But Shava Afrika does not let the track end on a negative note, the lyrics also show peoples’ relentless capacity to create hope and continue the political struggle:
“I’m always on bended knees,
I look to the sky,
I hold my head higher, Zimbabwe
Our lives, they matter“
The band is currently releasing tracks from their first LP ‘Long Time Coming #TLC‘.