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Bristol plays host to Zimbabwean musical legend

A musical hero from Zimbabwe is making a whistle stop tour of Bristol to support the plight of refugees from his homeland and entertain his throngs of fans.

Thomas Mapfumo, himself an exile in America following harassment from Mugabe’s government, will take part in a talk at the Pierian Centre at 4pm tomorrow (Saturday), and will speak about the issues facing Zimbabwean refugees. He is also performing at Fiddlers in Bedminster at 10pm that night.

The charity Refugee Action is supporting the event, and Peter Hammond, former Deputy Leader of Bristol City Council, will also take part.

Mr Mapfumo, who is known as ‘The Lion of Zimbabwe’,  popularised Afro-pop-soul music “Chimurenga”, which means “struggle” in Shona. He was a strong voice in the opposition movement against the Rhodesian government in the 1970s.

Forward Maisokwadzo, the chair of the Bristol Zimbabwean Association, said: “Thomas Mapfumo is a hero to Zimbabweans for the political influence he wields through his music. He both created and made popular Chimurenga music which started as the sound of the revolution. I would encourage anyone to come down to the Pierian Centre and the Fiddlers, whether they are already a fan or they are curious to witness a living legend discussing his opinion s and playing some great music.”

Elinor Harris, area manager of Refugee Action in Bristol, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this amazing event. Many Zimbabweans who have fled persecution have made Bristol their home and have contributed to our community. Thomas Mapfumo has given a voice to their plight and their suffering and we are honoured that he chose to highlight the situation of refugees in Bristol on his visit to England.”

The talk has been organised by the Bristol Zimbabwean Association and Afrika Eye. Speakers at the Pierian Centre include Peter Hammond, Former Deputy Leader of the Bristol City Council and Hanna Saastamoinen from Refugee Action in Bristol. The Pierian Centre is at 27 Portland Square in St Paul’s. The Fiddlers Club is on Willway Street.

Thomas Tafirenyika Mukanya
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