Maskiri: A Spectacle of Controversy and Vulnerability on the Zimbabwean Hip Hop Scene

Maskiri: A Spectacle of Controversy and Vulnerability on the Zimbabwean Hip Hop Scene

Maskiri is a well-known Zimbabwean Hip Hop artist and spectacle of controversy and vulnerability. Maskiri was born in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe under the name Alishias Musimbe on April 6, 1980. As a young child, Maskiri was expelled from school because of interdisciplinary behavior such as bullying other kids and skipping classes. This expulsion is what led to his parents disowning him and sending him to live in Guruve.

Maskiri stepped into the spotlight in the late 1990s and the early 2000s being that he was part of Phathood Entertainment along with Munetsi, Mr. Cee, and Action Jackson. Maskiri’s hit debut album Muviri Wese came out in 2002. Following Muviri Wese, Maskiri dropped several albums following his debut which included Blue Movie (2005), Tapinda Tapinda (2007), Ndo Taundi Yacho (2009), New Look (2011), Recovery (2012), Come Back (2019), and Mbinga From Binga most recently in 2021. He was awarded the best male artist at the Zim Hip Hop Awards in 2012.

Maskiri is no stranger to controversy when it comes to his music, often drawing harsh criticism from Christians in Zimbabwe. In 2002, his hit song Dhara Rangu was banned from the radio after a campaign by Christians because the song contains inappropriate language. Blue Movie was also banned by the radio in 2005 due to profanity.

Mbinga From Binga (2021) is another song that drew wide controversy and criticism for Maskiri. At the beginning of the track, Maskiri mentioned Tapiwa Makore, a ten-year-old who was brutally murdered by his uncles in September of 2020. The murder was suspected to be a ritual murder, as evidenced by the brutality of the murder itself.

Many in Zimbabwe believed that the mention of Makore was inappropriate, considering that it touched on a very sensitive topic. In response, Maskiri noted how Makore’s brutal murder had a deep effect on him. Maskiri addressed those offended by his line by stating: “The Tapiwa [Makore] line was not insensitive as many would have thought, it’s a metaphor. I deliberately used the line so that people can revisit the Tapiwa Makore conversation, people had been quiet and forgetful. I think it really worked and made people talk about it. The Tapiwa Makore story saddens me and I don’t wish to see that brutal killing happening to anyone especially at that young age, I hope his family finds comfort.”

Maskiri uses his platform to raise awareness and bring attention to his trauma by mentioning the story of Makore in his song. Activism is a key facet to the DNA of hip hop itself, ever since it’s birth artists have been rapping about the social injustices they face, and Maskiri’s case is no exception.

Works Cited

Pindula. (2021, July 5). Maskiri: Real name, children, banned songs, controversies (Mbinga from Binga) -Pindula, local Knowedge. Pindula. Retrieved February 1, 2022, from https://www.pindula.co.zw/Maskiri 

Dube, S. (2021, July 5). Zimbabwe: Maskiri explains Tapiwa Makore lyrics. allAfrica.com. Retrieved February 1, 2022, from https://allafrica.com/stories/202107050007.html 

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