Defending the environment through music

…Kobiri, Chipanga collaborate against destructive mining practices

Upenyu Chaota

The destruction of the environment by mining companies has seen musician Kobiri Mugochazizi (real name Mackenzie Mwase) collaborating with Sungura music legend Hosiah Chipanga in an advocacy song which encourages environmental conservation.

The song Zvaitwa kuno, which can be accessed on YouTube, iTunes and Spotify, laments the destruction of the environment and highlights how affected communities grapple with the consequences.

The themes are framed through the struggles of an old granny who lost her farming land to mining companies, the song bemoans the destruction of livelihoods in communities.

It further criticises authorities for putting the love of money before all else.

The song also laments the loss of grazing land for cattle and the dangers posed by the open shafts left behind by mining companies.  

Kobiri, who was born in Chinhoyi but grew up in Chitungwiza, told EnviroPress that he intended to send a message about real problems faced by local communities.

“As an artist I speak for those who cannot speak for themselves as their voices are marginalised. In 2008 and 2009, I worked under World Food Programme (WFP) in Mutare and I got an opportunity to traverse Manicaland province and what I saw there was heart breaking.

“I saw people being displaced in Marange and forcibly relocated to Odzi to pave way for diamond mining. I listen to news and I also hear that there are people in Chiredzi who may be displaced paving way for the Lucerne project,” said Kobiri.

He accused the Chinese of ‘terrorising our communities across the country’ through their reckless and destructive mining practices.

He said the minerals rush in the country has made the elite richer at the expense of the communities from which the minerals were being extracted.

“The whole country is now full of open pits left behind by mining companies and the communities are being seriously exploited. The environmental damage is just too much and someone has to stand up and defend the communities,” said Kobiri.

Chipanga weighed in saying communities were being victimised and nobody seemed to care about their wellbeing.

“I have met people who have been victims of these miners like in Chiadzwa area of Chief Marange and have seen even rivers like Save facing the risk of getting contaminated through mining activities,” said Chipanga.