LMG’s life after the war

The Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), the other half of the Patriotic Front which fought for the liberation of Zimbabwe, called its choir Light Machine Gun (LMG).

Some people say that LMG stood for Lichani (Moyo), Mawuda (Moyo) and Give (Nare), the original members of the group.
They say the leaders then changed the meaning of LMG to Light Machine Gun to better suit the ethos of the struggle.
The group was formed in Zambia in 1978 as the official Zipra choir with other members such as Happiness Sibanda and Gladys Moyo.
Today, the choir which is still composing and singing songs, has three of its original members – Give Nare, Happiness and Gladys – alive.
It now goes by the name I-choir KaMdala in respect of the leader of ZAPU, Dr Joshua Nkomo who was known as Mdala Wethu (Our Father), the group composes songs in both the Ndebele and Shona languages.
Most of the group’s songs were composed by Lichani Moyo and these included “Ngatitendei Baba Nkomo, vaMsika” (Let’s Thank Nkomo and late Vice President Joseph Msika); “Bafundisen” (Teach Them); “Yithi Laba”, “Umthombo weSizwe” and “Emoyeni Kubuhlungu”.
Moyo was abducted in 1984 from his Beitbridge farm and his whereabouts are not known until today.
The song “Emoyeni Kubuhlungu” is usually played today whenever one of the heroes who fought in the liberation war passes away.
“Bafundisen” was a radio tune song for an educational programme for quite some time with “Ngatitendei Baba Nkomo, vaMsika” making it big during the days of the liberation struggle.
The political disturbances in Matabeleland after Zimbabwe’s Independence forced the group to temporarily stop only for the surviving members to regroup.
In 2011, the group launched a new album called “Umbuso Omthsha” in Bulawayo and is also very active in the campaigns carried out by the Zimbabwean government whenever they release jingles.
Most probably the star that emerged from all liberation war choirs was Solomon Sikhuza who was born in 1956 in the Plumtree area.
Sikhuza joined ZIPRA in the early ‘70s in Zambia. Five years later, Sikhuza had made so much fame musically especially after he sustained an injury on the leg.
The injury that left him with a limp saw him permanently sent to the cultural unit of the party. When he returned to Zimbabwe after independence in 1980, Sikhuza became the first Kalanga musician to release of what is regarded as a classic hit song, Banolila in 1982.
The song, which Sikhuza released with the backing of his group, Fallen Heroes, remains one of the best sellers in Kalanga after selling 75 000 copies.
He also had success with compilations such as Zihlangene Vol. 1 and Zihlangene Vol. 2.
In the later years, Sikhuza became disillusioned with corruption especially when his personal fortunes took a dip. To show his concern about the turn of events, Sikhuza released a number of songs among them Love and Scandal whose theme was the Willowgate Scandal where some unscrupulous ministers manipulated the system to benefit themselves.
He also changed his name to Jah Solo.
But these songs despite their success did not bring Sikhuza any social improvement resulting in him dying in poverty in 1995.

July 2013
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