HARARE – Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana says exiled Chimurenga music legend Thomas ‘Mukanya’ Mapfumo is free to return home to bury his late brother, Lancelot who died recently in the USA.
This is after the US based protest music chanter said weekend he feared for his life if he returned home for the funeral.
Lancelot, a percussionist, was one of the founding members of Mapfumo’s Blacks Unlimited, a music outfit the veteran musician has fronted for many years.
Mapfumo, an ardent critic of the Emmerson Mnangagwa led Zanu PF administration and the predecessor regime once headed by now late President Robert Mugabe, told the media weekend he was not going to make the long trip back home to bury his brother.
“Lancelot was my brother, workmate and friend. I and the band have lost someone we worked with throughout our lives. It won’t be possible to fill his gap,” Mapfumo said.
“Lancelot will be buried in Zimbabwe, his homeland. We are making arrangements to bring his body from here.
“Unfortunately, I won’t make the trip to Zimbabwe because of political reasons, as you know I am not a favourite of the government.
“I fear for my life and safety if I come to Zimbabwe.”
Responding to Mapfumo Monday, Mangwana said the musician had nothing to fear.
“We wish to express our sincere condolences to Mr Thomas Mapfumo over the sad loss of his younger brother, Lancelot (MHSRIP).
“We wish to advise Mr Mapfumo that he has nothing to fear in Zimbabwe. The security of his person is as assured as the rest of us,” Mangwana said.
Mapfumo, a strong critic of citizen oppression and corruption, has unsettled the country’s rulers through often candid criticism of state excesses and open calls for the overthrow of the Mnangagwa led administration through mass action.
He has openly landed his support for opposition CCC leader Nelson Chamisa and his party.
Mapfumo was last home in April 2018 where he staged some home coming gigs and also took time to lay wreaths on the tombs of his late mother and those of relatives who died during his long absence.
His mother died in 2008 with the outspoken musician failing to attend her funeral, burial or memorial service.
Mapfumo relocated to the United States of America at the turn of the millennium.
His 2018 gigs saw him break a 14-year hiatus after his last performances in front of a home crowd were back in 2004.