Magee McIlvaine, Zimbabwe, 5 min
Brooklyn, NY – via Harare, Zimbabwe – December 19, 2011: Zimbabwe has suffered under a decade of political violence, record-breaking inflation and an exodus of its population. At one time, Zimbabwe had one of the strongest and most diversified industrial infrastructures in sub-Saharan Africa. Confronted by widespread power blackouts and fuel shortages, factories are now operating at less than 20 percent while unemployment hovers at 80%. Opposition activists and journalists are still routinely arrested by a ZANU (PF) regime desperate to cling to power. With ZANU (PF) pushing for elections in 2012, political violence is on the increase. From this context comes Zimbabwe-bred Comrade Fatso & Chabvondoka’s latest single: Korokoza. Shot on location in Harare, Zimbabwe, Korokoza (which means ‘to hustle’ in Shona) features leading international artists. This includes Mali’s most gifted balafon player Lassana Diabaté whose group Afrocubism has just been nominated for a grammy for best world music album. Also featured on the track is the pioneering Zimbabwean hip hop MC Outspoken. So outraged have the Zimbabwean authorities become with Comrade Fatso, his critically acclaimed first album House of Hunger has been banned on radio and TV. During the filming of the Korokoza video, the entire band and film crew were detained by the authorities for over five hours. Korokoza is a hopeful song dedicated to the resilience of Zimbabweans and people across the world who struggle to survive. Comrade Fatso deals with the contentious Marange diamond issue in the song attacking ZANU (PF) for not allowing the local Marange community to benefit from diamonds found in their area. Instead ZANU (PF) cronies and the army moved in, massacring the local community and placing the diamond mining under their clandestine control. Combining English with Shona, hip hop with the balafon and Zimbabwe with Mali the track presents a fresh, new international urban sound. Recorded in Zimbabwe and Mali while being produced, mixed and mastered in the UK and the USA Korokoza is a global collaboration.