Zimbabwean musician Cris Gera fled his home country after receiving death threats because of his song ‘Chema Zimbabwe’.
Cris Gera is a popular musician in Zimbabwe. His songs have been played repeatedly on the radio the past few years. He has three albums to his name, including The Advice (2011), Sango Rinopa Waneta (2010) and Music in Me Reloaded (2016).
Some of his most popular songs are: ‘Every time’, ‘Sango Rinopa Waneta’, ‘Dollar’, ‘Unity’, ‘Going Crazy’, ‘Kukanyaira’, ‘Rudo Kechipiri’, ‘Mangwanani,’ ‘Mazirimi’ and ‘Chema Zimbabwe’ (Cry Zimbabwe) (2016).
Chema Zimbabwe was released in 2016 and was shared and popularized through social media platforms. The song, a lament of the political, economic and social malaise in Zimbabwe, made Gera subject to harassment from government supporters, who took the song as direct critique of the authorities’ politics.
In fear of his life, he fled to South Africa late 2016.
A translated draft of the text from Chema Zimbabwe goes like this:
They are the only ones with full stomachs,
- while some of us sleep on empty stomachs’…
It’s an issue of poverty and unemployment, that’s all…
It’s an issue of bread and butter, my fathers
That’s why we are crying
It’s an issue of corruption, there is too much corruption
That’s making us cry
Our elder, we beseech you
We are not disrespecting you, please hear us
We want jobs, we want food
We are hungry, please fix things.
Gera never saw his song as political, but rather as a grieving of the current state of affairs in his country. He says that he is not a revolutionary, but writes music to the people and his children, about life in Zimbabwe
Music in Me / Nziyo Dziri Mandiri (December 2019)
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