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The Culture of AIDS in AfricaHope and Healing Through Music and the Arts$
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Gregory Barz and Judah Cohen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744473

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199744473.001.0001

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“What Shall We Do?”

“What Shall We Do?”

Oliver Mtukudzi’s Songs About HIV/AIDS

Chapter:
(p.241) 20 “What Shall We Do?”
Source:
The Culture of AIDS in Africa
Author(s):

Jennifer W. Kyker

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199744473.003.0020

This chapter offers a close reading of Oliver Mtukudzi’s song lyrics about HIV/AIDS. Mtukudzi, one of Zimbabwe’s most popular musicians, is known for his distinctive musical style and for the perceptive social commentary in his lyrics. The chapter examines Mtukudzi’s dilemmas of self-representation as well as his compelling personal narrative and deep understanding of linguistic nuance. It suggests that Mtukudzi’s lyrics often resist the pat messages some have considered appropriate for use in HIV/AIDS campaigns. Thus, while Mtukudzi’s music remains popular, it also contributes to a dialogue about the expectations of HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns, the allowance of individual expression, and the question of effectively addressing anti-AIDS messages to the public. The chapter discusses four of Mtukudzi’s songs: “Todii,” “Mabasa,” “Akoromoka Awa,” and “Ndakuyambira,” all of which illustrate his multifaceted musical portrayal of HIV/AIDS in an environment where issues such as the languaging of HIV/AIDS and the relationship between gender and agency have been tainted with politics.

Keywords:   songs, Oliver Mtukudzi, lyrics, HIV/AIDS, Zimbabwe, music, gender, agency, politics

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