ZIMBABWE PROTEST MOVEMENT (ZIPROMO) is a brainchild of banned and censored protest singer Viomak. After suffering immensely from being banned, censored and hated I felt that there is need for protest artists to promote themselves as I am convinced that they matter a lot since they tackle the root causes of the problems that hinder human development and peace.In many instances protest artists are neglected ,persecuted,terrorised and given names as they struggle to challenge the status quo artistically.They are rarely anyone 's celebrities and are in many cases treated as enemies.Art is an important vehicle for identity formation, facilitating change, and a source of entertainment and healing across cultures.With ZIPROMO I am promoting protest art, an aspect of art that has hitherto been either marginalised or neglected.
VOTO (Voices Of The Oppressed ) Internet Radio was therefore set up to skirt censorship.Radio itself is an art, and presenting is performance.
It was set up to help Zimbabwean protest artists ,activists ,human rights defenders escape censorship and give them a free platform to be heard away from POSA and AIPPA.The station is not only a haven for fellow Zimbabwean protest artists but a source of education for all.It also promotes the tradition of activist-art. Electronic artist-activism is one of the effective ways to skirt censors and oppressive regimes, and challenge restrictive state policies. VOTO radio challenges government policies and practices that abuse human rights and impede on freedom of expression,thus facilitating the democratization of mainstream art. VOTO is striving to educate Zimbabweans on their political responsibilities which include their right to be heard . With a potential audience of the whole world, online radio provides a perfect platform, for freedom of speech. The station is positively working as an expressive space in which Zimbabwe protest artists are combining their passions for art and socio political change thus speaking to the world about the common struggle for freedom of expression and human dignity
In the midst of a chaotic and hopeless political crisis in Zimbabwe, there is a wider creative arts progress taking place to mourn the death of democracy in a country crippled by severe human rights abuses as a result of bad governance. Many Zimbabweans believe that the country is a major cultural arts centre, not only in the southern African region but even in Africa. The art industry should therefore move into protest art to highlight the challenges facing the people of Zimbabwe inorder to find solutions to the political ,social and economic challenges facing the great nation.
The historical background necessary for understanding the emergence of protest art in Zimbabwe especially music ,builds on the view that developments associated with protest art are understood better by appreciating the underlying historical processes that have shaped art production in the country. It is therefore an act of doing violence to history if one neglects the larger context that has shaped the development of protest art in Zimbabwe.As a result of this realisation, I have set to establish a website that promotes protest art as one of its main objectives.
The Rhodesian Front Party, which dominated politics from its formation in March 1962 until the establishment of majority rule in 1979, advocated racial separation, division of land on a racial basis, and the protection of the Rhodesian whites.In 1962 after the Rhodesia Front came into government, Ian Smith became prime minister.His government approved repressive laws that denied black Zimbabweans their right to be heard. During 1965 to 1979 there was national discontent amongst blacks who set up opposition political parties.Due to injustice, in 1966 the arms struggle in Rhodesia started.As the political crisis depened the music industry experienced changes in the form and content of music. A few musicians therefore adopted a more revolutionary stance in their music.Protest music became a popular genre which spoke on behalf of the oppressed voiceless blacks.
Currently in Zimbabwe there should be a movement towards the idea that no education can be adequate in which protest art is neglected. Protest art illustrates images of hope, healing, and regeneration. ZIPROMO highlights the importance of the political context to protest art production and performance. It also provides a description of the work of the artists involved .The message of hope found in selected protest music songs is outlined, the theme of healing in protest art is exposed.
A work of art is the interpretation of life in its time.The goals of many societies in this day is to use the arts to alleviate suffering and provide opportunities to the world’s most neglected communities. The arts – painting and sculpture, music and dance, architecture and design, photography and film, drama and literature – become more than the Greek’s mimesis and catharsis, and surpass even Tolstoy’s belief that art unifies through feeling. For many, the living arts become tools of social empowerment. A civilisation can only advance if its sciences and arts are balanced. Art is the manifestation of the creator within. A healthy culture and the life of artistic ideas contribute, in turn, to the development of enterprise and economic independence which are crucial to alleviating poverty and achieving prosperity.Protest art per se should be promoted since it fosters and liberate creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
That said ,Protest music is a powerful vehicle for learning because it has not only melody but actions. Physical activity enhances brain power. Paul Berliner (1978) recounts several contemporary versions of a Zimbabwean ancestor, Chaminuka’s involvement with mbira music. In one, he is protected from his enemies on the battlefield by the music he plays on the instrument. Many other stories emphasize a connection between music and personal power.
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