By Innocent Ruwende
Harare City Council has resolved to honour Chimurenga musician Thomas “Mukanya” Mapfumo with the freedom of the city award. The freedom of the city award is the highest honour given by the city to people who have promoted the country or city brand.
Ward 13 Councillor Peter Moyo raised the motion at a full council meeting on Wednesday, saying Mapfumo deserved such an honour considering his exploits locally and internationally.
“We should honour our legendary musician Dr Mapfumo with the freedom of the city award. During the liberation struggle he defied all odds by singing against the Ian Smith regime. He inspired those who fought for the country,” he said.
“He continued singing until we got free and after independence he continued singing about the ills of the society. He sided with residents and Zimbabweans in general hence he deserves such an honour.”
Environment Management Committee chairperson Clr Herbert Gomba, who seconded the motion, said Mukanya deserved such an honour for his contribution.
“Yes council has mandated my committee to honour Mukanya with the freedom of the city award an honour given to people who has promoted our country or city brand, Mukanya has done a lot to promote our culture and sang against many social ills,” he said
“The city has not offered anyone that honour since the late 1990s, therefore we have seen it fit to honor one who has travelled the world doing well for our country, we have also asked management to look at others who have worked hard and deserved to be recognized.”
He said the list includes another legendary musician Oliver Mtukudzi as well as those who excelled in football, politics and religion.
Mukanya returned to Zimbabwe recently after more than a decade’s absence and he performed at a sold out show at Glamis Arena, Harare.
The musician had not performed in Zimbabwe for several years and his fans have had to travel outside the country to watch him on stage.
Mapfumo touched down at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on Independence Day to a warm welcome from his legion of fans who waited patiently to greet the music star.
His arrival was symbolic in two ways — firstly, it was a big day for Zimbabweans after attaining Uhuru from colonial rule and secondly, after living in exile in the United States for the last 14 years, Mukanya finally made it home.