Female musicians want to sing their own story

Female musicians say they would like to be accorded the opportunity to articulate women’s issues, as they are better placed to do so than their better resourced male counterparts.

Rute Mbangwa - lamented lack of airplay.
Rute Mbangwa – lamented lack of airplay.

The women artists say they want to convey their own messages, more so in this age of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

“The female audience is more comfortable with issues affecting them if articulated by their own, not by pretending male artists without first-hand experience of the issues at stake. It pains us to learn that a number of female musicians have composed dozens of educative songs to do with HIV/AIDS, but media outlets such as radio and television rarely play them, if at all,” said Edith Weutonga, a contemporary music artist.

She pointed out that she released a song titled ‘Usapaparike’ long back, but it was never played despite raising awareness about the need for protection against the HIV virus. Her other song 'Stone Child' (the dumped and neglected child) received little play on both radio and television.

Weutonga lamented that music to do with women and other crucial social issues, if composed by men, received preferential treatment and enjoy abundant publicity.

She said all artists should be invited to forums deliberating important issues like HIV/AIDS among others, to accord them the opportunity to compose educational songs from an informed position.

Another popular female musician, Rute Mbangwa, a jazz artist, also lamented lack of airplay for her music. She said the media was doing the nation a disservice by shunning her music that carried deep messages about issues affecting the nation and people across borders.

“If only radio disc jockeys could give our music sufficient time and scrutinise its content with the public, Zimbabwe would be better informed about issues affecting them. Music is there to educate the public not just provide entertainment and DJs should regularly play songs to do with pandemics,” said Mbangwa.

The artists said they wanted a situation whereby female artists and all musicians would be given equal opportunity to be ambassadors for respective causes.

One of her songs, Pasipadya, which encouraged people to adopt behavioural change in light of the HIV pandemic 'did not enjoy the publicity it deserved'.

The song had the potential to encourage people living with HIV to have a positive approach to life, while AIDS orphans would be urged to live a positive and safe life.

Tina Watyoka, an afro pop musician and student at the Midlands State University, said there was need for female artists to be empowered to educate students at institutions of higher learning about the necessity for precautionary measures against HIV/AIDS.

Watyoka said as a result of poverty and the liquidity crunch, promiscuity at the institutions had reached alarming levels.

“If better equipped, I would help spread the message about the dangers posed by the virus among my peers at university,” Watyoka said, urging other artists regardless of gender to help fight HIV/AIDS at the institutions.

The three artists are in music collaboration ‘AMAWALA’ (those who shine), to send messages across despite their diverse musical backgrounds.

Respected musician and poet, Albert Nyathi, said that even without adequate resources “Artists of both sexes including journalists should utilise available resources to reach areas like universities and educate students accordingly.

Female artists, like other women in all sectors of the economy, are yet to benefit from the gender equality provided for in the Constitution.

Post published in: Arts

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