Holy Ten – ‘Ndaremerwa’

In the midst of the social-political crisis in Zimbabwe, the upcoming rapper Holy Ten dropped ‘Ndaremerwa‘ (I feel burdened), examining the status quo in his home country. Just as the comments on the video show, Holy Ten’s deep lyricism hits the mark and resonate among Zimbabwean youths: “I heard this song in a shop I was in hurry but when i heard these lyrics I stopped for a moment … This song made me think bout my life” (by Caleb Maks), or: “As a young Zimbabwean this spoke to my soul” (by Rumbi).

It’s a track about the value and (in)significance of education in times of economic hardship and the everyday struggles of youths. As many Zimbabwean university graduates do not to find a well-paying job and the youth unemployment rate keeps being high, graduates loose self-conscience and doubt in the value of their talent, knowledge and education:

“These days hazvina kumira mushe,
Graduate rahwandisa gown”

These days nothing is stable,
Graduates hidden their gowns

At the lyrical heart of the song, Holy Ten tackles the whole education system, directing a message to secondary school students: “To anybody still in form 2, everything you learn is not true/ If anything you learn has no proof, then everything you learn has no use

Depressed by this seemingly hopeless situation, some youths choose drugs as a form of solace to their troubles. In ‘Ndaremerwa‘ Holy Ten points to those called ‘gukamakafella‘. In a recent Instagram post he explains the causes and the dramatic consequences of this phenomenon: “Guka is Street Crystal Meth Cocaine. It’s becoming popular amongst the youths in Zimbabwe. When you hear people talking about “bulbs” that’s what they refer to … The drug will hit you so hard it’s even said the users can go for 3 days without sleeping. But it never takes a year before users die or become mentally deranged. Gukamakafella is the term used for those who use the drug. It’s basically a death sentence.

“Mangwana ndakamuka ndakaneta,
Ichamba chandakweva chasangana neguka randasveta,
Yatongova gukamakafella,
Dai matogara guva makachera”

Tomorrow if I wake up tired,
Its the weed I smoked aggravated by the meth I took,
Its all about the crystal meth drug,
The grave might as well be dug

This is the unique strength of Holy Ten. His music is there to shake the youths’ conscience, to make them reflect deeply about their life and the society at large. Its’s pure and lyrically deep conscious hip hop. He has the talent and capacity to speak to the soul of the (Zimbabwean) nation.

Thanks to the blogger Beaton (Becoming the Muse), who translated the track into English.

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