Like or hate him, Chimurenga Music legend Dr Thomas Mapfumo has carved a niche for himself for straight talk and dry jokes.
Last week, in a televised interview, Mapfumo, known by his legion of fans the world over as Mukanya, pulled a fast one that left viewers in stitches, others awestruck and others equally angry.
He described national hero Dr Oliver Mtukudzi and himself as the only internationally-acclaimed music exponents from this country, while belittling sungura musician Alick Macheso and those of his ilk.
“…vasati vamutumidza (Dr Mtukudzi) kuti hero, isu taitozviziva kuti ihero nekuti akachengetedza tsika nemagariro emuno. Tikaenda mhiri overseas kwamunonzwa kwatinobva vanhu vanozivikanwa ndini naOliver, vamwe ava ana Macheso vanogumira muEngland. (…before they conferred him (Dr Mtukudzi) hero status, we already knew he was one and started calling him a hero because he preserved the culture and heritage of our country. When we go overseas, it’s only me and Oliver who are known, the rest such as Macheso simply end their tours in England)”.
Call it a dry joke but it made a difference. Social media went agog with it across the platforms.
This was not well received by a section of social media users who called on the yesteryear hero to introspect on his standing in the music industry.
Again, Mapfumo who some described as “myopic”, is not new to such controversy as he once described himself as the only Zimbabwean artiste worth mentioning after he came up with a list that had his name only with the second best on number 5.
To the contrary, Macheso never seemed fazed by the travesty and chose to ignore everything.
However, some local analysts and critics have blasted Mapfumo saying he was seeking relevance with his savage attitude while others defended him saying that was his character of telling it as it is.
Outspoken journalist and filmmaker Lucky Aaron has gone on to popularise Dhuku4Macheso, uplifting the sungura maestro giving him worthy enough praise similar to that given to Tuku as people who head-covers in his honour.
Posting on his Facebook Page Aaroni said, “Macheso is more popular in Southern Africa than Mukanya.” Well, ironically that seemed to be confirming Mukanya’s assertion.
Popular comedian Prosper Ngomashi a.k.a Comic Pastor said, “Respect to this humble soul, a fatherly figure of our time”.
His post was accompanied by a picture of Macheso waiting for his turn to wash his hands and enjoy a huge plate of sadza set in front of him. In another social media post Ngomashi pleaded with music promoters to organise a contest between Macheso and Mapfumo.
However, Taurai Chamunorwa of Highfield said Mapfumo is a legend and people should understand that he brought humour at the funeral.
“There was nothing wrong with what he said.
He lightened the moment and brought humour.
Humour is a major component of a funeral wake. That is his character and he is always like that. Mukanya did well, after all he is not same generation with Macheso.
Another Mukanya fan said he didn’t diss Macheso but he was just reminding the people that Mtukudzi and himself were the pioneers of music in Zimbabwe.
“Mukanya’s interview shows his maturity in a sarcastic way. (kutaura pachikuru).
“We have a lot of musicians who are performing internationally like Mokoomba, but that doesn’t mean that they are not global. He was talking of proximity,” said Primrose Ncube.
Watch video below