Gone Too Soon – Chiwoniso Maraire

I was recently reflecting on the death of Zimbabwean music icon, Chiwoniso Maraire, and my heart was heavy. When I heard of her death in July this year, I felt so heartbroken. Here was a woman who took the mbira – a traditional Zimbabwean string instrument, and fused it with popular music, telling her story with so much heart and a voice of silk.

When I think of Zimbabwean musicians and the sounds that remind me of home, Chiwoniso comes to mind. She was an incredible artist who stood her own in a field dominated by legendary male musicians such as Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi and Andy Brown (her former husband).

Her voice formed the title-track backdrop to the movie ‘Everyone’s Child’ which was written and directed by one of my faves, Tsitsi Dangarembga – a force to reckon with in her own right.

Zimbabwe has lost a true gem. It saddens me even more to know that we lost a woman who played an integral role in paving the way for female artists in Zimbabwe. There are not many who have managed to, so to lose one of the few is heartbreaking. I am grateful that I was exposed to her music and hope that her legacy will continue to live on in her music.

Gone way too soon at the age of 37, may her soul rest in peace. Chiwoniso, “fambai zvakanaka… tichazokuona.’

‘Mai’ – Chiwoniso Maraire

‘Wandirasa’ – Chiwoniso Maraire


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