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date: 26 September 2020

Mapfumo, Thomas locked

(1945– ),
  • Jeremy Rich

Extract

musician, was born in Marondera, Zimbabwe, on 2 July 1945 to a family belonging to the Shona ethnic community. His hometown was located close to Harare (then Salisbury), the capital of the British colony of Southern Rhodesia. Mapfumo lived a fairly traditional rural lifestyle as a child. His grandparents raised him for his first ten years. As a young child on a rural farm, he watched over his family’s cattle herds and became familiar with older Shona musical styles. He became interested in songs particularly accompanied by ngoma drums and the mbira thumb-piano, which became his signature instrument later in his career.

When he was ten his father brought him to live at the family home in the Mbare township in Harare to attend school In the early 1960s the adolescent Mapfumo was exposed to the growing political crises over Southern Rhodesia s future While African political groups wanted the ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Dictionary of African Biography.

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