Chimbetu of the “Batai Munhu” fame was busy strumming his guitar when a group of youths started fighting a man who had turned up for the show with his family.
He immediately stopped his band from playing registering his protest at the behaviour of the youths. “Ah ah zvemhirizhonga ndozvatisingadi. Makurwisana isu tirikutaura nyaya yerunyararo pano, aiwa tinoda runyararo kwete mhirizhonga,” said Chimbetu.
His calls for calm were momentarily heeded and he appeared to be resuming his show but the youths kept on spoiling for a fight. At that moment Chimbetu led his band into silence. He said in an angry voice. “Zvehondo zvakapera kudhara, mapurisa please batai munhu arikukonzeresa mhirizhonga uyu, batai munhu,” he said to wild applausefrom his legion of fans.
Chimbetu told the crowd that there is no need to be fighting and urged the police to arrest anyone who causes trouble. “We are here to talk about peace not to fight, we want peace , peace be still, thank you so much,” he said before resuming his show. Chimbetu is part of a host of artists that were appointed as peace ambassadors together with Jah Prayzah, the late Chiwoniso Maraire, Edith Weutonga and many others by Artists for Democracy in Zimbabwe Trust (ADZT).
Artists have increasingly been using their art to denounce violence. A little known sungura artist Herbert Majeke also joined the growing list of artists who like soccer players are using symbolic gestures to show their outrage against violence in the country.
Majeke refused to play at a show held at Snake Park’s Nice Time Shopping Centre when a group of youths ganged up to fight a man who was at the show putting on a red MDC party t-shirt.
Majeke stopped playing and sent a passionate plea against violence. “This is what we have been talking about all night, we don’t want violence, if you don’t stop fighting we will not play,” said Majeke in response to the fighting youths. “We ask for peace in this area otherwise we will not play music if you are not peaceful. We have elections soon and all we are asking for is peace, no violence please.”