Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

King of the Rebels Greeted as Hero; WORLD

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

King of the Rebels Greeted as Hero; WORLD

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK ESPINER

Thomas Mapfumo, Stratford Rex

IT WAS much colder, true, but Stratford did a fine imitation of downtown Harare last Friday. There was hustle, there was bustle, and there was a startling array of headgear: Kangol furry caps in every hue, turban headscarves, baseball caps aplenty and - would you believe it - a Burberry-check pith hat. Expat Zimbabweans, a growing number here because of the regime and economics of their homeland, came out in force to party.

Thomas Mapfumo is, for Zimbabweans, much more than a musician. He is a voice of resistance. Chimurenga, the music he created, with its wonderful blend of traditional African chants and songs, the mbira (thumb piano), electric guitars and drums, means "struggle" in Zimbabwe's native language, Shona. It was Mapfumo's anthems that criticised the former regime - putting him in prison for a spell - and supported Mugabe to power in 1980. Now, in exile, his rebel music turns its critical light on a new tyrant. …

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