Asaph, a voice for youth in Bulawayo

Asaph was interviewed by GQ about his experience as a Hip Hop artist from Zimbabwe.

Asaph was born Tafadzwa Tarukwana on January 11th, 1992 in Bulawayo Zimbabwe. 

Asaph has grown to become an internationally recognized Hip Hop artist most famous for his music that aims to speak for his community from an insider’s perspective.

Asaph dedicates his work to the youth of Zimbabwe and hopes for them to “be inspired, be liberated, or just simply entertained by my experiences, ideas, and stories”. (GQ, 2021)

Artists such as Chiwoniso Maraire and Fela Kuti, South African artist AKA, American artists Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar, and Nigerian artist Burna Boy have served as musical influences to Asaph.

His first recording session was in 2007, several years after rapping and performing for his friends and classmates. He fell in love with making music after that studio session and formed a small group with a few friends from school. In time the group gained notoriety among other local high schools. He started performing at school events and then eventually moved on to perform at local events hosted by individuals such as Naboth Rizla, who were growing the Hip Hop scene in Bulawayo. 

After moving to eSwatini for an internship at a Bible school, he started making gospel music and releasing solo projects. In 2013, Asaph moved back to Zimbabwe and in 2014 dropped his first non-gospel album KingsVilla. 

In 2015 Asaph got together with a small group called BurgBoiz and published a project called Deep in the Burg. Both the group and his follow-up album KingsVilla2 were nominated for awards at the Zim Hip Hop Awards. His group BurgBoiz won Best Group for 2015, and his album did not win the Best Album award. This loss served as a disappointment that outweighed his pride in the group award and pushed him to become more aggressive in his music.

His song Asipheli Moya depicts the Zimbabwean struggle with authority. Filmed in his hometown Bulawayo, this song exemplifies his professed mission to reach young people with a shared experience of struggle and relentless hard work. 

This song’s name drops George Floyd to compare a Zimbabwean situation where a Black man, named Paul Munakopa, was unjustly murdered by the police. Asaph calls out mainstream Zimbabwe for its facade of publicly displayed compassion that fades away in the face of reality.

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