ZIMBABWE’S ‘Apocalyptic’ Music as an Expression of Suffering: The case of Thomas Mapfumo and Hosiah Chipanga

  • Bishow Samhika University of Nairobi
  • Edith kayeli Chamwama University of Nairobi
Keywords: : apocalyptic, music, seer, Chimurenga and genre


Apocalyptic music is a genre of songs characterised by apocalyptic traits which typically include appeal to revelation or uncovering of the hidden truth. Apocalyptic literature evinces itself in the following characteristics: symbolism, dualism, pseudonymity, eschatology, revelation and exhortations. In Zimbabwean apocalyptic music, these features are present and the most prevalent are dualism,  symbolism, exhortations and some elements of pseudonymity as we shall see in this article. In Zimbabwe; apocalyptic music could be attributed to that of Thomas Mapfumo and Hosiah Chipanga. Developments in the colonial and post-colonial period provide the background for the analysis of apocalyptic music. During the colonial period, oppressive laws created to limit and, in some cases, deny Africans freedom of movement and communication meant that Africans had to find alternative ways of communication. In some ways, the same continued after independence in 1980. This article discusses the rise and role of the apocalyptic seer (musician) during the revolution (Chimurenga) for independence and after. In particular the article is to articulates how Thomas Mapfumo and Hosiah Chipanga as apocalyptic seers addressed pertinent socio-political, economic and cultural issues.