Thomas Mapfumo's comments are unfortunate
Zimbabwe music legend Thomas Mapfumo, had over the years developed a reputation of speaking his mind regardless of who offends by his comments. This ability found himself behind bars in 1979 for scrutinizing Smith's government and after independence he was later forced into exile in United States Of America after criticizing the Zanu Pf government's policies. He still lives in the United States up to this day.
While speaking to ZTV about Oliver Mtukudzi's accomplishments following his death, Mapfumo declared that it was only him and the late Mtukudzi who were internationally acclaimed and recognized. He attributed this to staying true to their local culture. While making his point he gave an example of Sungura superstar Alick Macheso whom he claimed was known locally only and a few other places where Zimbabweans have relocated like England.
It can't be doubted that the two are the leading Zimbabwean voices globally and that being unique has made their music travel the global space, it is erroneous to discount Alick Macheso's contributions and creativity just because he is not well known in Europe and North America. It is simply an outrageous self praising antic by Mapfumo without substance to point that Macheso's music is popular only among people of Zimbabwe origin. On the contrary from my travels in places like Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique just to name a few of these countries, Macheso appears to be the bigger star when compared to with Mapfumo. I had more than few occasions asked by taxi drivers in some of these countries for translations of his music upon them realizing I was Zimbabwean. Those who have lived in Limpopo would I understand how big his music is in that province.
Alick Macheso might not be a global star but he is definitely an African superstar. However I do feel Alick Macheso has not fully exploited his popularity to build a brand that will increase his visibility in mainstream media like BBC, Forbes and other top international media companies. While his star cannot be doubted, it's his marketing which leaves a lot to be desired. While it might look like he is not known, his music has traveled far beyond our borders.