Unity song: How it all began

The Chronicle

Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
WORLD travelled Imbube ensemble, Black Umfolosi have shared for the first time that the popular song Unity was composed on the eve of the signing of the Unity Accord on December 22 1987.

The group said the song, which became the soundtrack of the Unity Day celebrations, was a composed out of their own initiative, so that it matched the relevance of the signing of the historic Accord.

They had been booked to perform at the signing event held at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) and sing “1980, Happy Birthday to you Zimbabwe”, that they had composed when the country attained independence.

They however, quickly composed Unity which they spent the night rehearsing and when they performed it the following day it became as historic as the Accord itself.

The country’s founding fathers, the late former President Robert Mugabe and the late Vice-President Dr Joshua Nkomo signed the accord to bring together Zanu and PF-Zapu under the banner of Zanu-PF.

Black Umfolosi founder member, Mr Thomeki Dube said when they wrote the song, they had a vision about how Zimbabwe was supposed to be.

“Black Umfolosi was invited to perform and we had a song called ‘1980, Happy Birthday to you Zimbabwe’, which we performed during the dress rehearsal. However, we decided to change things up and we then decided to come up with a song and everyone started putting it together with lyrics and all. We composed the song at the back stage and then when it was time to perform, we dropped the one we planned to perform and we performed Unity,” said Mr Dube.

He said the song struck the right chords and they received a standing ovation from the auditorium.

The song shot them to stardom as days after their performance, they were contacted by Gramma Records to put the song on wax and the rest as they say is history.

“In 1987 when we sang it, it was very relevant at that time as the nation needed something to bring it together. According to me that unity is still relevant, as programmes for national healing, unifying people are very important and the Government must continue investing in them,” said Mr Dube.

“This is the reason why we composed the song, because we knew how a beautiful Zimbabwe must be. When people are united there is progress, development and a bright future. Without unity it will be difficult to achieve this.

We should be united together for one purpose, our ministers, our MPs and everyone in leadership must be united to one cause knowing that this is for the good of our country and for our future and ourselves.”

Mr Dube’s counterpart, Mr Sotja Moyo said in accordance with this year’s Unity Day theme, the song still rings true in 2021.

The theme for this year’s Unity Day celebrations is “United Towards Vision 2030.”

“As long as the theme is to do with uniting people towards a certain vision, the song is very relevant. The song celebrates every positive effort being put forth by any Zimbabwean or any person in the world, to unite people to develop their lives,” Mr Moyo.

“We don’t know how we wrote that song. It is a monumental song and it talks from the heart about its deepest desires for anything, especially our country. It’s about uniting people against wars, poverty, hardships and other things.

“We came up with a song and we said this song must not be hard to sing and the lyrics easy to remember so that anyone can sing them. It should have a good melody that even a child can follow.”
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Article Source: The Chronicle

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