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"Zimbabwean singer packs protest punch"

Lachlan Carmichael| London, Untited Kigdom - Oct 29 2007

Viomak's velvety voice drifts through the air like a lullaby on a gentle breeze. But her protest songs pack a punch which could mean jail for anyone caught listening to them in her native Zimbabwe.

The tunes bluntly demand an end to President Robert Mugabe's rule and belong to Zimbabwe's tradition of protest music that her fans say give hope and comfort to the country's suffering masses.

"Voices are saying 'Mugabe it is time to leave office'. Everyone is calling: 'leave now, the time is up'," 41-year-old Viomak and a chorus of young Zimbabwean women sang at a recent protest outside Zimbabwe's embassy in London.

But Viomak -- who declines to give her real name, for fear of reprisals against her family in Zimbabwe -- said her message must be delivered gently. "I'll be asking God to come in and intervene in our situation in Zimbabwe. ... That's why it's sort of quiet or soft," she adds.

A former teacher in Zimbabwe who has gained political asylum in Britain, Viomak is among a handful of Zimbabwean protest musicians like Thomas Mapfumo, Raymond Majongwe, Leonard Zhakata, Hosiah Chipanga, and Paul Madzore.

"She is my favourite," said Bridget Tapuwa, a Belgium-based Zimbabwean activist and writer who promotes and distributes Viomak's work.

Tapuwa said that Viomak knows how to reach Zimbabweans, most of whom are devout Christians, by articulating a political message with biblical undertones.

"They really feel God is with her. They feel hope," Tapuwa said when contacted by telephone in Brussels.

Itai Mushekwe of the Zimbabwe Independent weekly newspaper, who is staying in Germany as he fears reprisals back home, said Viomak and Mapfumo are probably Zimbabwe's leading protest artists. Mapfumo lives in the United States.
- Mail and Guardian

"Protest singer to release scorching 'Zimbabwe circus' album"

Harriet Chigege

17 August 2008

As the political situation in Zimbabwe gets tougher it’s also getting tougher for Viomak who has taken freedom of speech to a higher and reputable level. ‘Zimbabwe circus’, one of Viomak’s forthcoming music albums has it all. The self explanatory protest music album which she composed and wrote will be available anytime from now. ‘Zimbabwe circus’ is as controversial, as the politics of Zimbabwe which she compares to a circus and as controversial as her music. The album itself is also a ‘circus’ in a different way .It is loaded with unique themes laced with rich truthful lyrics, and is very different from her Happy birthday albums. In an unusual and expected move, Viomak who has always refused to oppress her voice, and strictly sings about the political situation in Zimbabwe composed the songs which despise both Mugabe and Tsvangirai’s leadership qualities in different ways, a move that will definitely take artistic freedom in Zimbabwe to a new level whilst creating more enemies and fans for the protest singer who compares MDC and Zanu PF to 6 and 9 when she says:

“Mugabe is a bad person and bad leader. Tsvangirai is a good person but is not a good leader. Whilst some protest musicians have taken political sides it is very healthy and important for me to remain non partisan otherwise the people we sing for will be deprived of the truth since pro political party musicians tend to be biased and speak only good about the masters that they sing for .In many known cases they exaggerate and give masses wrong impressions which is not good for socio-political progress. For example, the MDC-T mayor of Chitungwiza, Israel Marange was arrested for corruption and it is important that someone sings about it, otherwise it will be water under the bridge.I understand that this album will give birth to a new breed of haters since Zimbabweans are generally truth haters, but with time people will understand and appreciate my stance.”

As Viomak continues to take Zimbabwe protest art to a different level, she gave a brief speech at the launch of the freedom to create prize launched by Article 19 and ArtVenture in London on 1 July 2008. The singer who is also featuring on the freedom to create prize site as one of the contenders for the prize at says it is important that Africans take freedom of expression seriously since the barbarism that is rampant in our society is mainly caused by severe lack of tolerance for one’s views and opinions . However, Viomak was quick to point out that whilst she advocates for freedom of expression, there are certain limits to how far a normal being can go. Viomak is also raising the flag high for Zimbabwe when she performs at the Birmingham Arts festival on the 14th of September 2008. The singer, whose stories were banned in the Zimbabwe standard newspaper, after she suspected one of their reporters Vusumuzi Sifile-Sibanda of being a CIO, is very pleased that whilst some Zimbabwean journalists continue to shun her work, she receives a lot of respect, support and encouragement from non Zimbabwean media.

The 10 track album, whose songs are listed below, is a variety of Zimbabwean beats, the instruments of which were done by live session musicians in Zimbabwe at a popular recording studio. The change highlights another shift of her music from digital instrument recording used in her previous albums to live instruments. This album shows the singer’s real self. I happened to listen to all the samples of the rough tracks and my personal assumption is that this type of thought provoking music will make Zimbabweans wonder if they are doing the right thing or not. That’s the purpose of art I suppose. To reach people’s minds, whilst modeling behaviors and shaping beliefs.

2.Dr Gonoriya
3.Chinja maitiro
4.MOM (Memorandum of Misunderstanding)
5.Johnnie Walker
6.Dutch embassy
8.6 na 9
10.Zimbabwe circus

‘Zimbabwe circus’ is a temporary shift away from political gospel, her usual type of protest music, but is a political album which she composed and wrote, after realizing that some opposition politicians were getting away with all sorts of not so good behavior whilst almost everyone’s eyes and thoughts are focused on Zanu PF’s evilness and incompetence. Tsvangirai’s indecisive nature which Viomak is convinced is a disastrous quality in a leader is one reason that inspired her to compose the album .The other reason she said is to expose some of Tsvangirai’s supporters’ unbecoming behavior which should not be tolerated .The album will definitely be a great and interesting innovation in a country where voices of the voiceless are repressed not only by Zanupf and its supporters but also by some of Tsvangirai’s dedicated fans ,who Viomak calls the CIO’s of tomorrow. In the song ‘Mabhinya’ (Thugs), Viomak calls on Mugabe and Tsvangirai to control their thugs, many of who terrorize and verbally abuse internet revelers who speak against their presidents.

“I was shocked and frightened when one Tsvangirai supporter said, dying for Tsvangirai is his choice which should be respected, and it’s his democratic right. When I queried his stupidity he said to me, “Now please concentrate on taking your anti-retrovirals”. I am convinced that Zimbabwe is in a political crisis. Whilst many people think that they are fighting against ZanuPF’s Chinotimbas, they are also fighting for MDC Chinotimbas in new formats.

“This supporter’s statement is one of the many thuggish and irresponsible statements by many MDC supporters. Some of the supporters are so barbaric and violent minded and I wonder what will become of Zimbabwe incase Tsvangirai becomes president. Some MDC supporters treat Tsvangirai like a God and use all sorts of foul language to verbally abuse those who speak against their president. This is very wrong. If such kind of fanaticism is not stopped it will become a deadly disease whose remedy is bloodshed, rape, corruption and all the bad things that we see in Zanu PF now. Zimbabwe doesn’t need this Zanu PF mentality anymore. Moreso there is only one God and treating leaders like God should be despised at all costs. If MDC is also fighting for the so-called democracy then they should respect responsible freedom of speech and opinion by allowing us to free our voices and our minds. Sometime back some of the MDC supporters even threatened me saying I should stop singing protest songs because the genre was for MDC cadres only” she said.

For the above reason, Viomak said she also composed and wrote the song 6 na 9 which she compares to Zanu PF and MDC in order to highlight the similarities in the two parties’ differences. After listening to all the rough samples of the tracks on the album, I am convinced that this type of music will open doors for artistic competence that doesn’t only reveal the significance of freedom of expression, but that also reveals the skill of knowing what to sing about and how to sing it without fear. One only hopes that in case events go otherwise and allow Tsvangirai to fulfill his dream of becoming the president of Zimbabwe all protest musicians will be accorded the airplay they all deserve on state radio. With some singers’ airplay already guaranteed one starts wondering if non- partisan protest singers who sing about political thugs will be accorded the airplay that they also deserve as Zimbabwean singers. The more you tell the truth the more your enemies multiply, so they say. Time will tell.

The song,’ Xenophobia, is an English song that mourns the immigrants and Zimbabweans who were burnt and killed in South Africa in May 2008. With lyrics such as the ones below, Viomak hopes to let Thabo Mbeki know that she has lost the little respect that she had for him.

“I cannot believe what happened to them, South Africa remember Zimbabwe and apartheid. Thabo Mbeki be ashamed of yourself. You’re, a failure, a coward, a loser you will never be forgiven. If you’re a human being you should understand that everybody matters. You are a worthless, a useless leader you will never be forgiven”.

The second song, ‘Dr Gonoriya’ (pronounced Dr Gonorrhea), reminds the governor of the reserve bank of Zimbabwe Dr Gono who she refers to as Dr Gonoriya, of Viomak‘s other song ‘Gono bvisa father zero’ (Gono remove Father Zero) released in 2007 in which she reminded him that the three zeros that he removed from the currency are not the problem, but Mugabe is the father zero who should be removed from power. The new song,’Dr Gonoriya’ tells the governor who recently removed ten zeros from the currency that, his failure to take advice has made him repeat the mistake he did before.

According to Viomak, the problem is not the zeros but Mugabe is, otherwise as long as Mugabe and Zanupf are ruling the zeros will come back and he will continue removing them until kingdom come.

Zimbabwe political parties are locked in talks after signing the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) agreement. However, Viomak prefers to call the agreement MOM (Memorandum of Misunderstanding), thereby naming the fourth song on her album MOM. The lyrics which complain about why anyone would think of uniting with an inhuman murderer and thug, who caused so much harm and pain to mankind is an issue of great concern to her.

“How can human beings and inhuman beings work together .It’s like mixing water with oil. Why would someone in their normal senses even think of talking with Mugabe and hope to come up with a progressive move. Mugabe is a mad man whose language and actions are best understood by psychiatrics” she said.

The song Johnnie Walker was composed and written in such a jocular manner such that listeners will understand the strong message in the song without getting angry. The song was inspired by the six negotiators of MOU who drank Johnnie walker (Johnnie Mufambi), and refused to stay in a three star hotel complaining that it was not luxurious enough whilst many Zimbabweans who they are promising heaven on earth, sleep in ground star hotels (outside), and drink home brewed beer like tototo, seven days and the poor man’s beer, scud.

In Viomak’s words:

“The title track ‘Zimbabwe circus’ summarises the fact that Zimbabwe’s mess is like a circus. Everything seems to be mixed up. Political parties are making a whole lot of errors, stupid and selfish decisions. A lot is going on, so much that it is difficult to tell what will happen next. To sum it up, Zanu pf remains a party of unrepentant crooks and evil doers, but funny enough Tsvangirai and Mutambara agreed to talk with them by signing the (MOU) agreement. The signing of MOU is a circus on its own. Why should people sign to agree to talk? As if that is not enough the talks included negotiators who were not voted for by the people. The fact that MDC Mutambara is involved in the talks makes me wonder why there were votes in the first place if those who failed to qualify for the presidential run off are involved. That said, why did Tsvangirai agree to be involved in the talks that included Mutambara, only for his supporters to cry foul after rumours that Mutambara had signed a power sharing deal with Mugabe started spreading? It’s all their leader’s fault who agreed to go ahead with the talks that allowed Mutambara to be part of the deal when he was not supposed to be in it according to the logic behind it all. So they should stop terrorizing and blaming Mutambara, but they should blame their leader for not querying Mutambara’s presence. The fact that Tsvangirai did not raise any concerns about it implies that all was good making Mutambara eligible for any post granted to him by those involved .It’s all mixed up and senseless.”

The lyrics of the song give all the political leaders a fair share of the circus cake, as the song unfolds.

“Zimbabwe icircus Zimbabwe icircus (Zimbabwe is a circus, Zimbabwe is circus)
Zanu PF icircus Zanu PF icircus ( Zanu PFis a circus, Zanu PF is a circus)
MDC icircus ,MDC icircus ( MDC is a circus, MDC is a circus)
Mavambo icircus Mavambo icircus ( Mavambo is a circus, Mavambo is a circus)

‘Tipeiwo’ is the only pure gospel song on the album, and it asks God to bless Zimbabwe with good leaders who are always there for the people of Zimbabwe, musicians who sing for the people of Zimbabwe, workers who work for the people of Zimbabwe, fighters who fight for the people of Zimbabwe and so on.

Viomak is still set to release her traditional Happy Birthday album on 21 February 2009 to mark Mugabe’s 85th birthday. The songs on the album listed below are as good as it comes. From the titles it’s all fireworks.

3.Uchafa uri wega
4.Gore iro
5.Baba vaEdward
6.Matibili wauraya
7.Operation Matibili
8.Musaregerere JOC
9.Batai mutonge
10.Broken -buttock blues
- Kubatana Trust

"Happy 84th birthday Pres R.G. Matibili"

03 February 2008

AS has become her tradition, UK-based musician Viomak is back with another album, Happy 84th Birthday R.G Matibili (Great Son Of Malawi).

It is due for release on Mugabe’s birthday, 21 February.

The eight-track album is a fusion of political and gospel music, a genre no other Zimbabwean musician has dealt with before.

Political musician Viomak said the title of her album this year was derived from media stories identifying Mugabe as a Malawian whose ancestral surname is Matibili.

Viomak said: "The world and Zimbabwe should be reminded that Mugabe is a great son of Malawi and not an evil president of Zimbabwe.

"He should stop bothering other people about who they are and should actually strip himself of the Zimbabwean citizenship before he does that to others," she said.

The album carries songs such as Garai Makagadzirira, which advises Zimbabweans to be prepared for the big day when Mugabe will be out of their lives. In typical social commentary, she encourages Zimbabwean to look forward to a better future.

Zimbabwe Yoshuwa Zororo asks God to come forward and help Zimbabweans free themselves from Mugabe’s leadership.

In the plug track Kutonga kwaMatibili, Viomak narrates how Mugabe’s rule came with corruption, evil and murder.

There is a message of hope in the song Freedom Train in which she collaborates with aspiring Zimbabwean poet and writer, George Murvesi, based in Scotland.

The song assures Zimbabweans, especially those in the Diaspora, that "freedom is on the horizon".

Other songs on the eight-track album include Vatungamiri Vatsvene, Zimbabwe Yochema, Mune Basa muZimbabwe and Mukatenda Ndikatenda.

Viomak’s other albums include Happy 82nd birthday R.G. Mugabe (Emotions of the emotionless) and Happy 83rd Birthday Mugabe (bones of a 30 year old), which carries songs such as Uchaenda rinhi Mugabe, Ndofamba neDiaspora and Hatina Rugare muZimbabwe.

Viomak’s music, like that of other protest singers in Zimbabwe, among them Leonard Zhakata and Thomas Mapfumo, is banned from the government controlled electronic-media because it is deemed politically incorrect.

"Ringtones will be on the Internet soon and plans to set up an Internet radio station only for protest music are underway," said Viomak.

- Zimbabwe Standard

"Banned singer released her third protest album"

Harriet Chigege

29 February 2008

On 21 February 2008, Zimbabwe's president Robert Matibili Mugabe celebrated his 84th birthday in the southern border town of Beitbridge, whilst exiled singer Viomak officially released her third protest music album entitled 'Happy 84th birthday President R.G Matibili (Great Son of Malawi)'.

The album title was inspired by stories in Zimbabwe's media that said Mugabe is a Malawian whose ancestral surname is Matibili. It was mixed and mastered in Zimbabwe, at the same secret studio that produced Viomak's two previous albums. She won’t tell anyone the location of the studio. Voices were recorded in Britain where Viomak is presently ‘hiding’.

As on her previous albums all lyrics on the album are sung by her alone, and her message is very clear and direct – which is why her music is heavily censored and has never been played on state radio in Zimbabwe. Viomak says that right now her music is ”seeing the darkness of night but there will come a time when it will see the light of day”.

Censored artists on new internet radio
Not willing to be silenced, Viomak and her manager have teamed up with two Zimbabwean women activists to set up a new internet radio station, VOTO (Voices of the Oppressed). Concrete plans are underway to officially launch it on 18 April 2008, a date that marks Zimbabwe’s historical independence. The station will feature works of censored and banned Zimbabwean performing artists (especially musicians), fine artists and creative artists.

Viomak and her manager are also initiating the setting up of an award winning programme, Zimbabwe Protest Arts Awards (ZIPAA) that will recognise protest artists for their work.

“This will encourage Zimbabweans to speak out against bad governance and abuses of different forms. Society needs to appreciate that protest artists’ work is of paramount importance. They are sacrificing and risking a lot to be voices of the voiceless and for these reasons they should be honored, thanked and respected,” said her manager.

He hopes the programme will reach many parts of Africa. Plans are underway to hold the first Awards Ceremony on 18 April 2009 or 2010, and then on 18 April of every following year. Presently, the annual Zimbabwe Music Awards do not recognise protest musicians. What is recognised is only what is played on the state radio – which Viomak labels as 'ZanuPF Broadcasting Corporation'.

About the lyrics on the album
The opening song on Viomak's new album is entitled 'Garai makagadzirira' ('Be prepared'). It reminds all those who are impatiently waiting for Mugabe’s departure to keep their fingers crossed and prepare themselves for life without Mugabe. Viomak assures her listeners that 'God will deliver Zimbabweans from evil'.

The second song, 'Zimbabwe yochema' ('Zimbabwe is crying'), is a message from God that He has heard the crying of the suffering masses in Zimbabwe. The chorus of the song repeats how Zimbabweans are perishing due to AIDS and hunger because of Matibili’s misrule.

The third song, 'Kutonga kwaMatibili' ('Matibili’s leadership') which is Viomak’s favourite track, shows her selflessness when she narrates and acknowledges how Mugabe’s critics have suffered torture and beatings in the hands of Zanu PF CIO’s (secret agents), police and soldiers. She also mentions how Mugabe’s misrule has destroyed Zimbabwe due to corruption, theft and bad beliefs.

The last five songs on the album are also loaded with rich spiritual politically laced lyrics typical of her music, accompanied by a variety of Zimbabwean beats. Viomak’s lyrics are both humorous and sorrowful. In the same song she sings about how Mugabe is well known for being a foul mouthed president who said Chibebe (ZCTU’s secretary general)‘s big tummy is full of air, Tsvangirai (President of MDC opposition party) has an oversized heard, and also when he said the South African archbishop Desmond Tutu is a little 'Bishop'.

Viomak sings that bad leaders will not go to heaven, but only good leaders will. She warns Mugabe who she refers to as Matibili that when his day of reckoning comes Jesus will take him without a smile on His (Jesus') face.

Angry feedback
In her website guest book there are comments written by some people Viomak is convinced are Zanu PF supporters. One “Kwabena” wrote,“You have become shallow in your thinking, and I pray you are not infertile as the sterile race of whites you worship because you will be worthless to humanity”.

Another comment said, "Dogs may bark but the train moves on”, meaning Viomak the dog can bark/sing but Zanu PF moves on.

In July 2006, an official of the Zimbabwe Union of Musicians compared Viomak to Satan when he wrote in the State owned newspaper, the Herald that, “the union was appalled that some Zimbabwean musicians could be so immoral, unethical and lose their sense of humanity and principles and ... a musician cannot be so satanic and abuse her privileged position as to churn out albums attacking the person of a democratically, popularly and legitimately elected leader.”

Such an attack can send chills in the spine.

It didn't scare Viomak, though. In 2007 she sneaked into Zimbabwe where she re-recorded her first album, 'Happy 82nd birthday President R.G Mugabe (Emotions of the emotionless)', and also recorded her second album 'Happy 83rd birthday president R.G Mugabe (Bones of a 30 year old)'. She managed to miraculously roam the streets of Zimbabwe for at least three months before she fled.

- Freemuse

"Censored musician launches online 'protest radio'"

By Harriet Chigege, Viomak's publicity officer

Voto Radio Station invites all protest singers whose work is banned in Zimbabwe to use it as a platform where they can musically voice their concerns without fear of repression.

UK-based Zimbabwean protest singer Viomak has found a way of evading censorship in her home country. On Zimbabwe's Independence Day, 18 April 2008, she and her team launched 'Voto Radio Station – Zimbabwe Protest Art' on the internet with the aim “to focus on the importance of freedom of musical expression in a country where opposing voices are severely oppressed.”

“I’m convinced the music will now reach many of it’s intended audiences,” said Viomak.

It has been very difficult for Viomak to have her own music played on other Zimbabwean internet radio stations because they prefer to play and promote other music genres than protest music.

Negative responses
One other Ndebele Zimbabwean musician who last year released some protest songs suffered the same fate from ‘independent’ Zimbabwe radio stations which are not willing to play his protest songs. He explained how he contacted some Zimbabwean radio stations in the diaspora only to get unconvincing negative responses from the ‘owners’.

Viomak was quick to mention that someone at Voice of America (Studio 7, Zimbabwe) said her music was too political and negative of Mugabe so they cannot play it on their station. In light of this, Voto Radio Station is calling all interested Zimbabwe protest artists to come forward and be part of the project.

“Instead of protest artists crying foul over the banning of their music and other protest art, they should uncensor themselves by coming up with ways of making themselves heard,“ said Viomak

Content of the programmes
The station offers a dualcast service which operates both on a ‘on demand’ and ‘live streaming’ basis, and it opens with an instrumental version of the Zimbabwe national anthem. Tomson Chauke, a well-known Zimbabwean musician, prepares some of the programmes which include 'Miscellaneous protest', a programme that showcases various Zimbabwe protest music.

The music is selected from a range of protest tracks done by artists like Thomas Mapfumo, Raymond Majongwe, Leornard Zhakata, Hosiah Chipanga, and Viomak. There are also a couple of new protest songs from Ndebele singers. Songs like ‘Zimbabwe’ and ‘Freedom’ by Sinini Ka Ngwenya.

Other interesting tracks that are aired include songs supposedly done by Zimbabwean white farmers, namely ’Mugabe repossessed my farm’ which has lyrics that say:

“Tell me what happened to Zimbabwe
the lovely country that we all used to know
well, I don’t know
but Mugabe must go”
and ‘I’m a psychopath’, that goes:
I’m a psychopath
My name is Bob Mugabe
I’m the number one banana in Zimbabwe
I haven’t got a clue
so I blame everything on you
and the whiteys from London to Harare

No one goes to work today
because unemployment is high
Bob runs the country in his sleep
if only Bob Mugabe had not run for presidency
Mugabe, go to hell.”
In-between the music, political speeches are aired. For instance, a five-second speech by Ian Douglas Smith, the prime minister of Rhodesia, in which he bets that a black president will never run Zimbabwe well. He said: ”I don’t believe in black majority rule ever in Rhodesia, not in a thousand years”.

“Such kind of speeches remind listeners of Smith’s speech where he boasted that he would rather put his coat on the presidential seat instead of putting a black leader, implying that his coat would do a better job than a black president,” Viomak explained. The team behind the Voto Radio Station project strongly feels that every opposing voice matters.

Hundreds of listeners
“With time Voto Radio Station will strive to educate Zimbabweans on their political responsibilities which include their right to be heard. Other programmes in the pipeline include 'Prayers for Zimbabwe' where political gospel music will take centre stage,” Viomak said.

The station has been well received, with an average of 770 clicks a day to date. With Zimbabwe on the 7th place in the top ten of the list of 68 countries that visit Viomak’s website, she is convinced that Voto Radio Station is reaching it’s intended audience.

Resistance radio
In the 1970s, during Zimbabwe’s chimurenga war, the 'Voice of Zimbabwe' radio was beamed from Maputo, Mozambique, and used by Zanu to educate, mobilize, and recruit supporters. During the same period Zapu’s People’s Voice radio was broadcasted from Dar es Salaam, Lusaka, Cairo and on Radio Moscow.

The 'Voice of Zimbabwe' included such programmes as The Chimurenga request programme which was dedicated to those involved in the struggle.

During that period Dorothy Masuka, Dr Thomas Mapfumo and ex-combatant Cde Chinx Chingaira were popular revolutionary musicians. The songs that were played in these programmes boosted the morale of the fighters, motivated and inspired others to take action, thus in Viomak‘s words, “in those trying times music was the best therapy. When utilized appropriately music can be a massive weapon during a struggle for emancipation since it keeps the oppressed informed and entertained. Songs of struggle are therefore a source of inspiration and hope.”

On a similar style and purpose, Voto Radio Station broadcasts worldwide, courtesy of the internet. President Robert Mugabe who at one time had a wild dream of banning the internet in an effort to censor his critics put the plan on hold after the idea hit a hard rock.

Viomak's challenges
On 24 November 2007, Viomak was interviewed by Pamela Stitch of African Loft on the Story of political gospel, and when asked if she had faced any challenges in her brand of music she responded:

“Very big challenges. I live on verbal insults mainly from Zanu PF supporters, praises and salutations from my dedicated fans. Some Zimbabwean newspapers are not eager to write my stories for fear of reprisals. Some Zimbabwean internet radio stations are not eager to play my music for the same reason. My music is banned in Zimbabwe. Some people don’t buy my music cause they fear for their lives. Most of those who buy the music play it secretly. My music is the first of its kind and a few others don’t like my idea of mixing gospel with politics. So my music is very controversial but the good thing is I have more fans than enemies.”

What then is the purpose of continuing to sing if you face all these challenges? I asked Viomak.

“You keep hoping that one day God will help us change the situation in Zimbabwe. Hope gives us the zeal to move on until we achieve our goals.”

CDs disappeared
Viomak's CDs and cassettes are at times sold unclenched or labelled particularly in Zimbabwe, so they won’t be noticed by her enemies. An idea that doesn’t go down well with buyers who are not used to seeing such kind of music packaging. Viomak narrated how she was duped by some MDC high ranking officials in the UK and South Africa who crooked her when they offered to be selling agents of her music only to disappear for good with the music.

Zimbabwe protest musicians face such kind of challenges since they do most of the marketing and promoting on their own due to the sensitivity and the risks their music entails.

Viomak' manager also explained how he had tried in vain to place adverts in the Herald newspaper to market her first two albums. The adverts which were later accepted by independent newspapers, the Zimbabwe Standard and the Zimbabwe independent caused havoc after some suspicious men called him endlessly asking if they could meet up with him. The men later visited and threatened one Toendepi Shonhe a political activist who had personally offered to sell the music from his offices in Harare.

These are just a handful of the drawbacks and challenges that Viomak faces as a censored musician. Now that the goal of setting up an internet radio station has been achieved what is left is to work on it so that it becomes a bigger project that will rise from being an internet radio to an actual radio station that rises above the ground.

Upcoming projects
Moving with the times, Viomak's website boasts of a whole lot of free ringtones. She just finished doing the groundwork of her 10-track 'standby album' entitled ‘Happy Deathday President R.G. Mugabe-Matibili (Death is certain)', to be published whenever that day comes, and she is now working on her fourth album, 'Happy 85th Birthday President R.G. Matibili (Little Tiny Dot)', due for release on 21 February 2009 as per the tradition.

The title was inspired by president Robert Mugabe’s speech in which he referred to the prime minister of Britain Gordon Brown as a tiny little dot on this world. Tracks on the album include ‘Gukurahundi’, a song that chronicles what transpired during that controversial time in Zimbabwe’s history, and ‘Operation Mavhoterapapi’, a song that moans the torture and beatings that Zimbabweans experienced after they placed their votes in front of the ‘wrong’ face during the so called harmonized elections on 29 March 2008, the results of which are yet to be confirmed.

Book about censored musician
Viomak is also working on a book titled, 'Rainbow Tears in a Throat Thunderstorm'. The book highlights the trials and tribulations of being a Zimbabwean censored musician, coupled with being an outspoken female in a society of politically irresponsible, good for nothing primitive leaders and confused citizens. It also highlights the musical struggles of operating underground inorder to expose issues on the surface, and a whole lot of political and cultural issues that make her “to be proud of who she is and regret about what she is”, according to how she expresses it.

Zimbabwe protest artists are encouraged to get in touch with Voto Radio Station at either of these two email-addresses:
voto[] or

- Freemuse

"Protest music, drama goes underground"

Harare ,Zimbabwe ,

23 November 2006

By Gift Phiri

Canadian-based protest musician Viomak, who is currently in Harare, drags listeners back to reality when her lyrics turn from the tribulations of love to those of a country speeding even further along the road to repression.

Viomak's latest album, Happy 83rd Birthday President Mugabe (Bones of A 30-Year-Old), released here last week, is a compilation of soulful and hard-hitting ballads that tell of a country in crisis and of leaders impervious to the idea of relinquishing power. This protest music is banned from the airwaves of state-owned media.
Viomak is as skittish as opposition activists and journalists, who are being harassed and arrested under laws designed to quell discontent. The eight-track album features songs such as Inzwa Mugabe (Listen Mugabe), Mugabe Usambozvinyengedza (Mugabe don't fool yourself), and Mangwanani Baba (Good morning daddy).
The album delivers one straight message: Mugabe must go if the country is to be saved from further collapse. The album is a sequel to her first album Happy 82nd Birthday President Mugabe, Diapora Classics, which was relatively popular.
Though Viomak is one of the country's popular protest musicians, she now lives in Canada, but is in Harare to launch her album despite all the attendant risks.
Viomak said: "Zimbabwe is my home and Mugabe should know that Zimbabwe was not created for him."
Viomak's music can be obtained from the MDC Headquarters in central Harare. Record sales companies have refused to accept her music.
John Mokwetsi entertainment editor of the independent Standard weekly, says local braodcasters seem to have "shut out protest music and drama altogether."
Despite the lack of media exposure, protest plays are still being staged and protest music is still being heard. Mokwetsi said that being banned, in fact, could make artists more popular.
At a roadside bar north of Harare, people sing along to the songs of Viomak. The latest album makes much better listening that her previous work, and is better organized and more original. It is also a frank assessment of the crisis in Zimbabwe and rightly squares the blame on Mugabe's doorstep, who she accuses of being locked in denial.
The Zimbabwean government has long been intolerant of criticism, but since winning just a narrow victory in the general election in 2000, President Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) party have clamped down harder and harder on free expression.
Many Zimbabweans want their musicians to take a stronger political stand against the growing repression. People like Mokwetsi believe other artists should speak out more strongly.
"There is an element of fear in people's reluctance to do so, although musicians here are used to speaking in riddles, their words carrying hidden meanings that people understand but which aren't explicitly critical," he told The Zimbabwean. "Many of us believe musicians should be more direct in telling it like it is. . . . If our musicians sing about society, then surely there is no way they can avoid political matters. They should be social and political commentators too." - Visit:
- The Zimbabwean

"Viomak fires another salvo at President"

18 February 2007

President Robert Mugabe will disturb the serene environs of Gweru when his noisy contingent invades the city on 24 February to wine and dine as they celebrate the octogenarian's 83rd birthday.

The party is known to run until the following day with taxpayers' money disappearing in food and drink as people take advantage of the old man’s rare generosity at this time of the year.

But for Viomak, Mugabe's staunch musical critic, giving the president a gift through his representative in the United Kingdom, Gabriel Machinga, on the day will be a moment to savour.

In a telephone interview with Standardplus from the United Kingdom, Viomak said she would be officially launching her latest album Happy 83rd Birthday-Bones of a 30- year-old, in London at Zimbabwe House on 24 February.

She said: "I phoned the Zimbabwean Ambassador to the UK, Gabriel Machinga to find out if he could attend and I am waiting for confirmation. I would like to give him the music so that he can deliver it to President Mugabe."

She will be teaming up with pressure group, Vigil Zimbabwe on the launch.

The album comes as a follow-up to her debut album Happy 82nd Birthday President R.G Mugabe (Diaspora classics 1) Emotions of the emotionless released last year.

Viomak said the official launch of the latest production is slated to coincide with Mugabe’s birthday.

The album is loaded with traditional attacks on Mugabe's presidency and his reluctance to relinquish power at a time when economic and political woes continue to bewilder many a Zimbabwean.

Songs on the album include Arise and Fight, A Man in Zimbabwe, Gono bvisa Father Zero, Ipaiwo Vasina, Tererai Mwari, Mangwanani Baba, Mugabe Usambozvinyengedza and Inzwa Mugabe.

The title of the album was inspired by Mugabe's 90-minute interview with ZTV's Newsnet which was also broadcast on radio in February last year on his birthday during which he revealed that contrary to fears over his health, he felt like a young man' was as fit as a fiddle, that his doctors had told him he had "the bones of a 30-year-old", and would like to live another 82 years.
- Zimbabwe Standard

"Viomak releases Christmas Box bundle for ‘Zimbabwe Circus’ Politicians"

Zimbabwe Circus: Music review by Harriet Chigege

As Zimbabweans continue to chew bubbles and swallow air in anticipation of a quick and successful resolution to the sleazy political crisis ravaging the country, protest singer Viomak continues to call a spade a spade, and if her music is to be played at a political rally all the political clowns in Zimbabwe will hide their faces in shame. Viomak only started experimenting with protest music in 2005, but her determination, versatility and imagination have seen her turning up to be the sole woman protest singer in Zimbabwe. Thanks be to the woman who has stood against many gender and political odds to give protest music a chance in a bid to bring about leadership sanity in Zimbabwe.

“It is not an easy road to tread. You are bombarded with all sorts of verbal insults now and again and all drawbacks and temptations that are associated with protest music production, but I keep going. My enemies have trebled with the release of Zimbabwe Circus, but the good thing is I am not singing for the love of money but for the love of Zimbabwe.” she said.

The album sleeve that she designed tells a hidden story of her face looking like a circus clown. This she says exposes the circus of the situation in Zimbabwe and how Zimbabwean political leaders have become clowns. This could be the most relevant political music album of this time. It's very unfortunate that such kind of music is banned in Zimbabwe otherwise this must to listen album was going to give solace to many deranged Zimbabweans who are unwillingly embroiled in the Zimbabwe circus politics, if only they could afford to listen to it in the comfort of their freedom. With a picture of an MDC membership card in her right hand and the picture of a Zanu pf membership card in her left hand Viomak compares Mugabe and Tsvangirai to 6 and 9. Don’t ask me where she got both membership cards from. All I know is she is non partisan, and the picture works very well with the title. Her songs operate as a mouth piece of other silent voices.

The title of the album sounds promising enough. Of course it will take a while before some people appreciate her type of music but the good thing is starters always shape the way forward and at the end of it all the crown goes to them .Whilst many people were busy making arrangements for a great Christmas holiday, Viomak was busy in and about the studio doing some touches to her album which was officially released on 25 December 2008.Viomak’s music remains in a style of its own. Its truthful nature is becoming a beacon of strength to wannabe protest singers. This is another step towards something truly special. Some political singers have avoided mentioning names. Some have remained silent on criticizing the MDC. ‘Zimbabwe Circus’ certainly inspires confidence that “freedom of expression is the backbone to a democratic society” to quote her words. With this album Viomak has not only reinvented the musical wheel in Zimbabwe, but has shown that music is a great art that can be utilized in various ways to free one’s voice and feelings. In its uniqueness the album is packed with well thought out lyrics that blend well with awesome guitar chords, exciting drum beats, marimbas and soulful vocals that rub up against well- adapted organs and neatly tailored basslines completing the package .
Her music talks and her voice sings. If you are the type of person who is not bothered about the politics of Zimbabwe this album will not interest you. However, the good thing is you can ignore the lyrics and dance to the sizzling Zimbabwean beat (as she calls it) that cushion the lyrics. The album is one kind of a companion that can lead you through trying times without causing harm to anyone, as long as you play it in the absence of narrow minded people. If you are the sort of person who likes meaningful and inspirational songs that speak on behalf of the oppressed then ‘Zimbabwe Circus’ is a must for you, as it carries the type of music that speaks for your oppressed soul in a way that will make you applaud Viomak for the great work which most of us have failed to achieve. The album is politically charged and is sung in a gentle way that might also put you off if you are the type of person who is into the aggressive and harsh type of voices. Viomak’s seriousness about the political situation in Zimbabwe takes toll through her vocals and lyrics. One can only imagine how emotional she was as she recorded the music .The lyrics are written in a jocular manner and that could have eased up her mood. It is up to you to judge too. I have done my part.
The choice of instruments that accompany all the songs is superb too. Viomak who had to sing the rough lyrics of her songs to her producer in Zimbabwe on the phone to produce instruments of which she then added her vocals in a studio in Britain, says she faced a terrible time dealing with ‘telemusic production’, but her perseverance made her to pull through successfully. The Zimbabwean producers’ expertise with instruments matched with Viomak’s soft-to-loud vocal style to add depth to an album that is pleasant all the way through.

‘Zimbabwe Circus’ announces Viomak’s candidacy for a big post in Zimbabwe’s protest movement. Maybe I can now safely claim with all the confidence that Viomak has now assumed the role of the queen of Zimbabwe protest music. I am confident too that music matchers will not find a match for her since her music resides in a genre of its own, and it is something no known singer in Zimbabwe has embarked on. On previous albums she would on some songs borrow some tunes and come up with great matching lyrics like what many other musicians do. I thought that was where her strength in music rested. I now stand corrected by her ‘Zimbabwe Circus’ album, in which she has proved with no doubt that she is a great composer and fantastic songwriter. It might take a while for her to get where she is supposed to end up at due to the fact that she is out of Zimbabwe .More to that, her protest music touches on unsaid issues and speaks volumes about even those who she is supposed to work with. To her artistic truth is the remedy for a dead democracy. Her courage coupled with intelligent lyrics gave birth to ‘Zimbabwe Circus’ ,a cool and complex album, as also reflected in the song titles which range from funny themes to thoughtful laments echoing the chaos of Zimbabwe in the post independence era. There are many reflective songs which make the album special with underlying vibes holding noble songs that bring listeners back to unexpected reality.

The album’s gentle and mournful vocals which are a great combination of simultaneous musical notes are matched by hard hitting melodies that echo the all time disaster in the politics of Zimbabwe. Of course no English translation is provided yet for the lyrics but from her passionate voice and coherent instruments one can easily tell that whatever she is singing about is coming from her heart .Her innocent and patient voice is not pushy, but it is full of questions that allow the listener moments to meditate whilst querying the political status quo. The lyrics of the songs are as humorous as ever and this gives the burdened Zimbabweans seventy minutes of serious thinking and serious laughter. The album is an exciting bundle that connects Viomak and her music to an unforgettable historical perspective. Gone are the days when Viomak would resort her lyrics to despise Zanu pf only. ‘Zimbabwe Circus’ is on the move with lyrics that despise all bad politics in the country. The tracks on this album are an entertaining mix that caters for all those who want to listen to music with a difference. It is a well coordinated album that results from a lousy political story destroying Zimbabwe, and its people. Viomak, who made this album with a producer in Zimbabwe and another in Britain looks at current issues of unity talks in many of the songs. The Zimbabwean producer who worked on the instruments did a credible job in compiling the pack which was done in the presence of Viomak’s rough voices. Viomak cannot be in Zimbabwe and if Tsvangirai happens to get into power and start behaving like a mad oppressor too, then Viomak will again find it hard to reside in Zimbabwe.

The album is introduced by the song Memorandum of Misunderstanding which opens through a sorrowful, infectious and danceable flute beat, with a warm saxophone and a tight bass played as though by the Zimbabwe police band at the Harare show grounds with a bevy of drum majorettes completing the marching sequence. One can only imagine the song being played at Rainbow towers, the centre for the MOU talks if the circus clowns decide to meet there once again for the almost failed talks. Whilst repeating the chorus which is typical of her music, Viomak showers those who signed the MOU agreement with unanswerable questions. The song is not in a hurry, for she sings in a rhetorical yet demanding manner in a bid to get answers for the same questions that are worrying many Zimbabweans at the moment. As the song spreads out Viomak refuses and rubbishes the MOU agreement as an unreasonable move that is but a waste of time and resources. Through the use of the Manyika dialect spoken in Manicaland where she hails from she expresses sorrow through impressive language clichés that are used in Manicaland. Her refusal to accept MOU as a viable solution is also supported by a variety of other instruments like ngoma, and pressing kicks which tightly hold the song and escort it to its sad and unexpected ending. The length of the song has no bearing on the listening ear due to the fact that the song makes you gather enough curiosity to get you up to nine minutes.

As the music plays on to the second song Viomak takes a swipe at the reserve bank governor, Gideon Gono. The song Gonoriya is embraced by distinct rolls with a heavy duty bass that scaffolds all the other baby instruments like marimba and hosho to give them their well deserving positions in the mix. Every bit is packed in a carton of well polished vocals. The song is set to be a most favorite hit on this album even though Viomak’s most favorite song is 6 na9. Although Gonoriya is an obvious gem it is the type of song one would not even expect to hear play in Zimbabwe even though it is very relevant at this moment in time when Zimbabwe’s inflation is only awaiting its entrance into the Guinness world records. The naming of the song which equates Gideon Gono to gonorrhea makes the song a prohibited item in Zimbabwe even though Viomak doesn’t include anything to that effect in her lyrics. Her lyrics are always very clean. The other reason why the song will never be allowed is singing that the disastrous governor is a deviant who doesn’t listen to advice, and telling him that the Zimbabwean dollar is now just as good as tissue paper. Although Viomak doesn’t mention that the fallen dollar is now as good as toilet tissue paper, I’m sure anyone who knows about the economic chaos in Zimbabwe will think otherwise. Loud brass accompanied by a ‘talking’ organ grabs Viomak’s resentment of the way Dr Gonoriya is dealing with the monetary issues in Zimbabwe. The rest of the harmonies agree with the theme of the song in a style that captures one’s attention in a moving way. The song is most suited to public open air gatherings which give revelers enough space to engage in various forms of dancing styles whilst celebrating the governor’s new catchy rhyming nickname. In other words, the song is for serious dancers and those with a high degree of laughter. Although Gonoriya is an easy to sing along tune one wonders how it was composed. It is an epic song that tallies very well with every bit in it. To add on to its uniqueness, the composition gives one the impression that Viomak was singing with a backing group. That’s not it. She takes it up on her own in the studio.

On the third song 6 na 9, which is her most favorite, she builds up confidence with the courage of a desperate and impatient woman who expects MDC and Zanupf to understand that whilst the two parties are dawdling on power sharing disagreements ordinary masses are suffering, making the two heads to resemble 6 and 9.In a worried and fed up voice she starts the song by mentioning that “Zimbabwe circus iyi taneta nayo” (We are tired of this Zimbabwe circus)”. This method of artistic execution or mode of presentation is characteristic of a well thought out song .The two leaders’ dillydallying and some other issues make the two men similar. ‘Zimbabwe Circus’ takes the trophy , for being a hive of terror not only for political leaders but also for some of their supporters who Viomak blames for being crooks and narrow minded. The song is arranged around jumpy and juicy organ and rhythm beats that somehow signify the leaders’ failure to resolve issues amicably, through the way they are combined as Viomak’s vocals pave their way through the instruments complaining that Zimbabweans are now tired of the political circus. As she repeats that 6 and 9 look alike she asks the two leaders to understand that people are starving, are in darkness, are thirsty and are sick. The song ends with an array of impressive instruments blending well with a short interjection of her vocals in English as she leaves more space for listeners to sing along and bring the song to a rousing ending selflessly allowing time for more body shaking. Of course 6 na 9 is definitely deemed to be another favorite hit for some listeners. Mark my words, apart from reviews and personal comments music remains a subjective entity.

There are moments of great jubilation in the fourth song Mabhinya (thugs), when the high sounding rolls come to the fore as if signaling the thugs to be aware that they are being exposed. The vigorous rolls are immediately joined and overshadowed by a variety of other rhumba like sounds bringing the listener to a mini chimurenga mood .Viomak’s voice awakens to the extraordinary sounds and figures her starting point when her patient and soft voice is heard coming in between the hard drumbeats, in a lively and interesting manner giving the break instruments time to take her to the next verse. She repeatedly advises Zanupf and MDC to control their thugs and thieves .Come to think of it. Who ever imagined that a Zimbabwean artist would ever highlight these issues in a song? As if worn down and irritated she explores the song in hidden anger showing her resentment of the two leaders’ leadership qualities. Mabhinya is most enthralling when Viomak is direct and fiery in her lyrics as the bass and brass remain solid to the end. The song will definitely provoke some people’s anger especially for the fact that Zimbabwean politicians and many of their supporters don’t accept criticism.

A happy and gripping track Johnnie Walker cruises as a radio friendly track that will make her fans wayward as they chant the vivacious chorus that repeats itself with flammable consistency,
“Memorandum yacho MOU yacho makasainira aniko” (Who did you sign the MOU for?)
The song is smothered with inquisitive vocals that are laced with impressive harmonies befitting an energetic audience at a political gathering. As the song starts with marimba ,the whistling of the airy flute, coupled with a staccato style and a wonderful lead bring the song to a junior reggae beat, but maintains its preferred Zimbabwean beat .Johnnie walker is a sure case of Viomak’s music writing skills exhibited especially on this whole album. Blessed with a rich vocal range, the song is pleasing and a pleasure to listen to. The lyrics get people to a contagious dance and yes, they are appealing. Her marvelous duality as an artist, who combines her expertise as an educationist and singer could be one of the reasons why her music composition is awesome. She really is an interesting and passionate individual as she sounds in her songs, and her lyrics are a reflection of those qualities that distinguish her from others. Certain sections of the Zimbabwean society may think of her as a pain in the nerve or even a failed singer because she doesn't fit into any of their expectations and interests , but there's nothing awkward about the quality and style of her music and the depth of her passion and competence for what she does.
As Viomak insists on defying the norm, she laments Tsvangirai’s failures in the song ‘Dutch embassy’. Many photos come to mind when you listen to this tune. The photos of the purported MDC injured supporters who thronged the MDC headquarters at Harvest house and the American embassy during the Zanupf mavhoterapapi reign of terror .What crosses one’s mind is that the MDC leader Tsvangirai was hiding in the Dutch embassy whilst his supporters like ill treated refugees squattered helplessly as zanupf police officers tormented them. In the song Viomak sees the MDC leader as a father figure who should have been there for his children in their time of need. As the song commences she advises Tsvangirai to remember that as he signed the MOU agreement his supporters were beaten up, tortured and burnt. He should therefore be careful of dining with an unrepentant Mugabe who fooled Joshua Nkomo (Umdala Wethu) into signing a unity accord that never materialized. She chooses words like ‘kudzurudzuta mabhuku (scribbling books) to show that the MOU agreement is a non event that Tsvangirai should not have taken seriously, just like the scribbling of a young chap in sand. The song is written and sung in such a fascinating tone that the adamant Tsvangirai will think twice about what he is doing if he gets the chance to listen to it.

Tipeiwo (May you give us) is another winner, with its joyful, percussion loaded fairy tale lyrics. It is the urgent, down to earth but persuasive religious vocals that hit the listener hard as the song portrays the desperate situation in Zimbabwe. The song shows that Viomak has no faith in men of this world to assist Zimbabweans, but has faith that God will answer if people call out His name for help. Tipeiwo is like honey in a cup of bitter tea, a remedy to comfort and heal the broken hearts in Zimbabwe. It leaves you in a poetic mood too. The song makes you feel like the heavens will open for God’s angels to touch down in Zimbabwe and assure Zimbabweans that the desires of their hearts will be accorded .The lively chorus sung in a cool, velvety voice is introduced through the use of rolls that transport the sing along chorus to the jovial instrument break .It looks like Viomak was again set to show that she is still heavily inclined to her Manyika dialect even after having lived in the diaspora for close to seven years. Tipeiwo appeals more to poor souls, Zimbabweans in solitary confinement, the neglected victims of torture and not forgetting the illegally imprisoned activists and all opposing voices that are silenced. For those who want to listen to music for it to fill their soul, to speak to their souls the song Tipeiwo is captivating and spiritual enough to respect their inner demands. The song is different and makes an interesting listen. She doesn’t add comedy to the lyrics most likely because she was talking to God.

The closing song Zimbabwe circus which is the title song is a simple narration of how Mugabe-Matibili, Tsvangirai, Mutambara, Makoni and Towungana all cross the circus bridge as political clowns. The song brings the album to a satisfying conclusion and unbelievable experience. Viomak is true to herself and sticks to what she dreams to achieve. She takes pride in the fact that she is doing what she thinks is right .She reminds me of a forwarded email that landed in my inbox sometime back that was encouraging people to Aspire to Inspire before they Expire. That’s what she does. The choral song is so straight forward but very deep in message. It sort of conceals Mugabe’s evilness by blaming his political rivals too, giving the Zanu pf troubled leader a seven minute glassy break from criticism targeted at him. Obviously some listeners might start worrying about the lyrical content of this track and would like to question why Viomak says all Zimbabwe political leaders are a circus .She can be contacted through her website for those who are interested in knowing .It is not yet popular to be critical of the MDC artistically, but I’m sure in a couple of years to come it will be as common as despising Mugabe.
Probably some of the best things musically about the whole album is how it captures one’s imagination and captivates the mind. One gets caught up in the moment no matter their political affiliation. Chances are the album was composed to evoke an emotional reaction from the listener, and from the look of it all, it is capable of doing this with far more success than her previous albums.

Over the course of eight tracks the album gives you a very good idea of what it must be like to be a protest singer .Of course the other thing it does is give you an idea of what they are like musically.
There can be no doubt that ‘Zimbabwe Circus’ would be of phenomenal popularity in Zimbabwe if all available means are used to have it get there. Viomak who said she composed all the songs at once, said she wanted the production to be much simpler and extremely relevant to the circumstances surrounding the dead but living talks. The honesty heard in her voice is a great inspiration. Her emotion is real. The names of the songs are not disappointing as she sings what they mean, and then there are the songs themselves and what the lyrics talk about.
The album is a unique entity. Even on her own Viomak is able to combine the gentleness of each voice into a virtual choir. Even though the tunes are presented in a choral manner the subtle textures of their voices create layers of sound that are a delight to the mind. You quickly forget that there is no backing group in support. ‘Zimbabwe Circus’ is one of the most unusual protest releases. The album outdoes her previous ones making it a better treat.

‘Zimbabwe Circus’ presents the spirit of the masses in an enormous and convincing way and would make a fine addition to anyone’s collection. If people are to face the truth the album is without question one of the most interesting Zimbabwe protest albums to date making Viomak a pleasant protest sensation.
What we have here is an album geared more towards recapturing the spirit of unbiased non partisan protest music in a male dominated territory .Again, the album will make her many new enemies but I think it’s only fair to appreciate what it is for now.

Songs of struggle are still not yet very popular since a large number of Zimbabweans are not politically inclined. On the other hand it is somehow difficult to get Zimbabweans tuned in because protest music is banned in the country so it is very difficult to distribute it and get publicity for it too. Undeterred the Zimbabwe musical scene continues to flourish with protest music here and there.

Viomak is going to be very busy again soon, as aside from promoting her new album, she is preparing to release her traditional Happy birthday album .The album that will feature renowned poet and writer, John Eppel’s lyrics on the song Broken- buttock blues is out 21 February 2009 to mark Mugabe’s 85th birthday. She did ‘Zimbabwe Circus’ out of her norm as there seemed to be no one singing about the Zimbabwe political circus, otherwise she specializes on Mugabe‘s birthday albums.
- Harriet chigege


Viomak's music is banned on the state controlled radio in Zimbabwe.She relies on Voto radio station and other independent radio stations that play her music on end.She also relies on well wishers who are eager to take her music on board.No lies radio and AfriRhythms Net Radio in USA have been very helpful.

Albums released :

ALBUM 1 Released 21 Feb 2006

HAPPY 82ND BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT (Emotions Of The Emotionless).

1.Uchaenda riini Mugabe
2.Ndofamba neDiaspora
3.Unoendepi Mugabe
4.Hatina rugare muZimbabwe
5.Izwi radaidzira
6.Tapera muZimbabwe
7.Zimbabwe mudumbu reZanupf
8.Zimbabwe iripi

ALBUM 2 Released 21 Feb 2007

HAPPY 83RD BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT (Bones of a 30 Year old)

1.Arise and fight
2.A man in Zimbabwe
3.Gono bvisa Father Zero
4.Ipaiwo vasina
5.Tererai Mwari
6.Mangwanani Baba.
7.Mugabe usambozvinyengedza
8.Inzwa Mugabe

ALBUM 3 Released 21 Feb 2008


1.Garai makagadzirira
2.Zimbabwe yochema
3.Kutonga kwaMatibili
4.Zimbabwe yoshuwa zororo
5.Vatungamiri vatsvene
6.Mune basa muZimbabwe
7.Mukatenda ndikatenda
8.Freedon train is coming



3.Chinja maitiro
5.Johnnie Walker
6.Dutch embassy
8.6 na 9
10.Zimbabwe circus


3.Batai mutonge (Viomak's favourite)
4.Gore iro
5.Baba vaEdward
6.Matibili wauraya
7.Operation Matibili
9.Uchafa uri wega
10.Broken buttock blues (lyrics by John Eppel)

Her music is played by various African radio stations .



Viomak is a Zimbabwean singer temporarily based in Britain.Her musical interest started in 1977 at a primary school in Mutare,Zimbabwe when she was 12 years old.She was in the school choir which comprised of twelve students and her main parts were soprano and alto.She can also sing tenor and bass .Eversince she was in the school choir she has developed a liking for choral music which has influenced her type of music to date.Both her parents sang in the school choir as well and church choir during their time.

As she sings on her own changing parts ,accordingly producing choral music she can also do acappella music with great ease.She composes and writes her own songs producing unique tunes that produce great Zimbabwean beat.

Viomak revived her musical interest in 2005,after she decided to use her voice to despise human rights abuses and bad governance in Zimbabwe.She remains the only woman protest singer in Zimbabwe.Her music is censored and banned in Zimbabwe . So far she has produced three protest music albums all of which have been dedicated to the president of Zimbabwe,Robert Mugabe who she blames for Zimbabwe's downfall.

She is currently working on two albums which are somehow very different from the first three.These two albums are loaded with unique Zimbabwe beats and the lyrics focus more on the general socio-political situation in Zimbabwe and around the world.Her messages centre around peace and harmony,freedom and respect for human rights.

As she continues to be a political activist and human rights defender her music contiunes to have a great impact in the music industry in Zimbabwe.

In April 2008 she was instrumental in setting up Voto (Voices Of The Oppressed) Radio station to promote and offer airplay to banned Zimbabwe protest artists.Their work is banned on state radio and the only way out is self promotion.

In May 2007 she was also instrumental in the formation of Servants Of Truth Band.The band members are renowned Zimbabwe session musicians who backs her if need be.Otherwise she is a solo singer .

Viomak holds a B.A General Degree ,a Graduate Certificate in Education ,a Diploma in Educational Foundations and a Masters of Education-Educational Psychology degree. She hopes to defend her Doctorate thesis soon. She plans on returning to Zimbabwe to set up Viomak Academic College,Viomak Help Centre and a recording studio.She is currently pursuing private studies in music technology.