Thomas Mapfumo announces South African tour dates

Exiled Zimbabwean music icon Thomas Mapfumo will be touring South Africa in March 2015.

Thomas Mapfumo
Thomas Mapfumo

Based for most of the past decade in Oregon in the USA, Mapfumo has not performed in his homeland of Zimbabwe since then, so his March performances with his band The Blacks Unlimited will no doubt be welcomed by the large community of Zimbabweans who currently call South Africa home, as well as his many other fans. Some of the only other chances to catch Mapfumo on African soil have come at performances in 2011 alongside Oliver Mtukudzi and more recently in early 2014, when we shared a stage with Jay Prayzah at the Ellis Park Arena in Joburg.

Thomas Mapfumo & The Black Unlimited’s ‘Danger Zone Tour’ will see them perform at the Bassline in Newtown, Johannesburg on 27 March, and the following night at the Dragon Room (aka Opium) in Cape Town. Opening both shows will be Zim-dancehall star Soul Jah Love. Tickets will set you back R250 for general admission and R400 for VIP. Book now at Computicket.

The Black Unlimited are: Christopher Muchabaiwa, Gilbert Zvamaida, Lancelot Mapfumo, Chakaipa Mhembere, Brooks Barnett, Dennis Dove, Joe Freuen, Richard 'Richey' Thomason, Eric Orem, Joe Manis and Eddie Delisio.

Affectionately nown as ‘the Lion of Zimbabwe’, 'Gandanga' or 'Mukanya', Thomas Mapfumo is one of Zimbabwe's most respected musicians. Born in Marondera in 1945, he began his career singing rock covers. In the 70s he formed the Blacks Unlimited and crafted his own style, known as Chimurenga. Imprisoned briefly as the war for independence raged, his message was that people needed to reclaim their traditional beliefs and culture. After independence, Mapfumo’s popularity grew, initially by singing the praises of Zim’s new leaders, later as their most vocal critic. In 1988, when government ministers were bust buying luxury cars with taxpayers’ money, he released ‘Corruption’. In 1999, he released 'Chimurenga Explosion', with hard-hitting songs like ‘Mamvemve’ (tatters) and ‘Disaster’. The album rose to the top of the charts in 2000, the year Zanu-PF was 'nearly' defeated at the polls. Rumours soon emerged that his songs were being pulled off the air. In June, police raided his home and confiscated three cars, claiming they’d been stolen in South Africa. The following month, Mapfumo and his family moved to Eugene, Oregon. He remains based in the USA and has only returned home a handful of times in the past decade, also performing occasionally in South Africa. His recent albums include 'Rise Up' (2006) and 'Exile' (2011).

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