Thomas Mapfumo: The Lion of Zimbabwe

Download Audio

With an election scheduled to be held in less than a month, Zimbabwe is again experiencing turmoil, as the government led by President Mugabe is inciting violence and refusing to recognize international elections observers.

Thomas Mapfumo knows all about upheaval in Zimbabwe. As the majority Shona tribe fought for freedom from the ruling white Rhodesian government, Mapfumo became a musical star whose music conveyed the struggle of his people. At one point, Mapfumo was jailed for his highly political lyrics.

Today, Thomas Mapfumo continues to perform the genre of music he created called chimurenga — which combines the cyclical rhythms of traditional Shona music with Western instruments to create an almost trance-like sound. This hour, the "Lion of Zimbabwe" shares his music of struggle and discusses the ongoing political upheaval in his homeland.


Thomas Mapfumo, musician and political activist.

This program aired on February 15, 2002.


More from On Point

Listen Live