Zimbabwe: What's All the Noise About?

category southern africa | culture | other libertarian press author Thursday February 05, 2009 16:01author by SFM

A-paulling officers, a-paulling stations and people casting their hopes? Could it be a mock election was being held? This was the dis-order of the day at the MAKE SOME NOISE Festival as it kicked off in Zimbabwe at the Mannenberg Club on November 29th 2008. Organised by Magamba, LNM and the Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum (ZSF), the naughty, subversive event featured leading protest and spoken word artists- Comrade Fatso & Chabvondoka, Outspoken & The Essence, Josh Meck, Cynic, Zaza as well as the blazing new duo, Upmost & Stan.

Aiming to inspire resistance and resilience during these ‘zvakadhakwa’ times, the Festival brought together a diverse mix of loud, rebellious Zimbabwean youth, artists and activists. Ballot boxes were dotted around the venue and people were encouraged to cast their ’hopes’. The ‘a-paulling stations’ were being monitored by ‘a-paulling officers’ as people were told by the MC that their ‘hopes’ would be read, edited and improved after the counting was over. “Don’t worry, the masses” joked the MC, “We know what you mean to say. We will read between the lines and edit your votes accordingly!” No ‘editing’ of the hopes really took place but the MC managed to poke fun at how Zimbabweans get their votes ‘edited’ on a regular basis. The ’hopes’ representing the wishes of Zimbabweans were then taken to South Africa and displayed at the MAKE SOME NOISE Festival, Joburg.

The MAKE SOME NOISE Caravan arrived at Joburg’s funky live music venue, House of Nsako, on Saturday 6th December 2008. The walls of Nsako were adorned with a powerful, pro-democracy art exhibit by exiled rebel Zimbabwean visual artist, Kudzanai Chiurai. The ’hopes’ cast by Zimbabweans were displayed on walls at the venue while those entering the venue were encouraged to cast their own ’hopes’ for Zimbabwe’s future. These ’hopes’ were later to be taken back to Zimbabwe representing people to people solidarity within the region. Those entering the venue were asked to sign a typed, individual letter addressed to SA President Kgalema Motlanthe and to SADC demanding action on Zimbabwe. These hundreds of letters were subsequently sent to the office of the president and to SADC.

As people began to pour into the venue, solidarity messages were announced on stage by different key activists from the Zimbabwean struggle and from South African civil society. ZSF had organized a discussion featuring South Africa’s
Anti-Privatisation Forum, the Young Communist League and the Soweto Electricity Committee who all made speeches in support of the Zimbabwean people struggling for democracy. Zimbabwe’s Crisis Coalition chairperson, Macdonald Lewanika, gave a moving review of the catastrophe in the country and the state-sponsored abduction of activists. After the speeches, the madness began as an awesome line-up of South African and Zimbabwean artists chanted and incited the crowd. There were fantastic opening performances by popular poets Flo, Bianca Williams and Napo Masheane. The crowd were then treated to soulful hip-hop by America’s MC- Jazz Lee who was followed by Zimbabwe’s trail-blazing hip-hop crew, Dialectric Blue. South Africa’s wicked ragga MC- Black Dillinja was next to jump on stage, getting the crowd to chant in solidarity with the Zimbabwean people. Comrade Fatso and Chabvondoka took over where Dillinja left off, inciting the crowd with their subversive, riotous music and encouraging everyone to make some noise for Zimbabwe. The last live act was leading South African artist- MXO who got everyone moving with his original blend of afro-funk. His set culminated in him inviting all the artists on stage for a grand finale for Zimbabwe. The fire carried on blazing as Joburg’s favourite DJ Kenzhero threw down a mix of old school and funky new tracks much to the ecstasy of the sweaty, exhilirated crowd.

This was the third MAKE SOME NOISE Festival that Magamba has hosted and hundreds of people have now been part of the rebellious madness. With their partners- LNM and ZSF, Magamba plan to carry on infecting the region with solidarity fever. So, next time there’s some noise in your neighbourhood, you should probably go and see what all the noise is about!

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