Is there a more universally revered societal position than Motherhood? I’m hard-pressed to think of one. The prevalence of Zimbabwean songs dedicated to moms should thus come as no surprise.
By Shingi Mavima
Two years ago, we published the article 10 Urban Songs For Your Mother’s Day Playlist. Of course, ten songs barely begin to scratch the surface. In fact, I am confident that I could put out a list of ten different songs annually for the next five or so years before I’m stranded—and that’s only accounting for songs that already exist, not the dozens more that will be sung between now and then.
Without further ado then, here are ten MORE Urban Zim songs for your Mother’s Day playlist! If you do not see your favorite song on here, and this I beg of you, either check this previous article, or charge it to there being a lot of mhamha songs out there, be kind, and leave your suggestion in the comments!
10. Betty Makaya-Amai
‘Handizombokanganwi rudo rwenyu imi
Rwakaita kuti ini, ndiwe ini…”
Y’all remember Betty? In the early 2000s, the Urban Grooves moment had garnered some momentum, and was creating stars by the day. With many of the young female artists (Plaxedes, Tererai, Pauline etc) hailing from such prominent stables as Shamiso, Galaxy and Chamhembe Records, Makaya broke the mold, coming from a lesser known studio, and shook up the scene with ‘Usipo,’ ‘Kurwizi’ and other era-defining tunes. Although not as renowned as its peers off her debut album, the tear-jerking ode to a deceased mother, ‘Amai’, still hits right in the feels.
9) Ishan- December (ft GZE)
“Vadeura dikita, enjoy the fruits
But usazokanganwa kudiridza ma roots’
After dropping one of the biggest records in Zimbabwe over the past few years (Kure), there was reason to be excited for Ishan’s career trajectory. His 2020 album, Bundu Pop, however, seems to have come and gone without much fanfare. Whatever the reason, this was rather unfortunate, as the project as a whole was solid (in the writer’s subjective opinion, of course!) One of the standout songs therefrom was the Gze-assisted ‘December.’ The song finds young Ishan breaking down as he negotiates how the dream-chase often takes us away from those we love the most: Mhamha being the archetype
8) Sam Mutukudzi-Amai
“Pakabuda rudo rwukuru kundirera
Pamboshanda masimba makuru, kundibereka…”
Admittedly, I had not heard this song when we made the first list. Our editor in chief, with all due license, decided to shoehorn it into the article nevertheless, albeit with a #. And boy, am I ever so glad he did. What a beautiful song that serves to remind us of how much brilliance we were cheated out of by way of Sam’s early passing.
7) Holy Ten- Wakatuka Amai
“Kune mhepo dziri kunze uku dzinoda anodzivhika, iwewe haumbozviziva
Nekuti minyengetero yavo amai inogara yatongozvidzivirira”
There are a few Holy Ten songs that could have troubled this list, but I’ve decided to go with this stand-out tune from the award-winning ‘Risky Life’ album. A victim of the high bar he has set for himself, there are whispers here and there about whether Samanyanga is as good as we’ve made him out to be. If that thought ever enters your consciousness, just listen to ‘Wakatuka Amai’ and get your head on straight: the boy is brilliant. A masterfully executed take on a concept known the world over, the song will have you wanting to right any wrongs against your mother that may still be lingering in the air.
6) Trevor Dongo- Ndozviita Sei
“Kundisiya kwamakaita, hupenyu hwangu hwashanduka,
Handizivi ndodini ko?”
Before Trevor Dongo was crooning his way into the ladies’ hearts as the debonair king of the love jam, he caught our attention with this 2006 emotional lament to a deceased mother. Left in the unforgiving custody of a stepmother, the song tells a story of abuse and treachery that no child should have to live through. Still as powerful now as it was almost two decades ago!
5) Hwinza- Amai Vangu Alice
“Makaenda musina kuti bye bye
Kutaura kuno mai, mumbori payi?”
To many observers, Hwinza epitomizes the vulgarity (and subsequent demise) of ZimDancehall music. Yet in this turn, we find the usually mischievous chanter in tears, reminiscing about his mother. Coupled with poignant visuals from the cemetery, the self-aware lyrics of the song only adds to its punch. Through his pain here, we see a different side of Hwinza.
4) Nadia Nakai- Amai
“And my queen has always been around,
The machine I cannot live without/
She pick me up when I break down,
Now I’m up, I bow down…”
While the South African-based hip hop artist has been a force to reckon with over the past few years, collecting awards up and down and collaborating with the best in the game (regionally and beyond), she has garnered international attention via her starring presence on the Netflix show, “Young, Rich, and African.”
In 2019, she released her debut album ‘Naked’, and among the litany of stellar tunes on the project sits ‘Amai’, a raw tribute to a mother, as told through the lense of a young adult daughter figuring it all out.
3)Diamond Boyz- Mhamha
“Chishuwo changu ndechekuti musavatore
Komborerai muwedzere makore
Vaone kugona kwangu kusvika ndiroore
Ndizokwanisa kukuchengetaiwo nerimwe gore”
The Mutare-based duo has been bubbling just under the surface since they dropped their first hit single, ‘Energy’ a few years back. They represent a sparsely occupied genre-bending space within the game, dabbling in elements of hip-hop, dancehall, and afrobeats to produce an eclectic and incomparable style.
The track ‘Mhamha’ is off their ‘Energy’ album, and it’s a whole vibe.
2) Noble Stylz- Ndopika NaGogo.
“Patsvene muzukuru, mazuva angu mashoma asara
Gogo handisikuda kunzwa izvozvo, Muzukuru nyarara…”
While the Elli-ot assisted ‘Mhamha Vakati’ would have been the predictable entry from Noble here, I’ve decided to flip the script a bit, and shout out the grandmothers. The undisputable matriarchal pillar of many families, Gogos assume a particularly elevated role among Zimbabwean millennials. Whether because the parents left for the big city and then the diaspora, or fell victim to the virus in the 1990s, there are multitudes of 80s and 90s kids whose mother figure is their grandmama. This track, the intro to Stylz’s long-awaited album by the same name (meaning, ‘I swear by Grandma’) is brilliantly orchestrated, as Noble voices both him and his Gogo in a conversation beginning in playful banter and ending in an ominous declaration that her time was nigh. You feel it.
1. Seh Calaz-Amai
“Ndichakutendai seko, zuva ranhasi zvamusisipo?”
Boss Yala is one of the five or six names often brought up when discussing the Mount Rushmore of ZimDancehall music. An incredibly consistent and high-energy performer, this morose tune represents one of his more somber moments in the game. With beautiful visuals to match, the song is definitely an apex in Calaz’s distinguished discography.
So I hope you enjoyed this read and, more importantly, that you have a wonderful Mothers’ Day. For those whose mothers are no longer with them, we hope you find peace, love, and happy memories on this day of remembrance. All going well, see you back here this time next year!
(I’ve also built YouTube and Spotify playlists with as many songs fitting this theme as were available on either platform. Follow the respective links, and enjoy!)