Much has been said about the use of Zim-dance-hall artiste and popular socialites in political campaigns that are taking shape in Zimbabwe.
The 2023 election campaign is effectively on and the political games are in full swing.
In typical positivist fashion, Zimbabweans who comment on the use of celebrities and popular musicians for political campaigns and propaganda often expect to find that popular culture ‘does’ something ‘to’ national politics (or, less often, that national politics ‘does’ something ‘to’ popular culture).
But these assumptions misunderstand. Analytically, both ‘popular culture’ and ‘national politics’ are complex and contested concepts, so there can be no singular understanding of either. Empirically, the objects and practices to which the terms refer, and the ‘relations’ between and among them, are varied, complex and dynamic.
In both wartime and peacetime, popular culture plays a surprisingly (or not?) large role in foreign (and domestic) policies.
In times of war, states (sometimes notoriously) create, deploy, and exploit popular culture as/for propaganda
For instance, posters and other media forms were famously deployed to define Zimbabwe’s enemies during the infamous land reform program.
Even in the long protracted Chimurenga 2
Popular musicians were used and songs employed.
So for anyone wanting to play politics in Zimbabwe any political party that has serious ambitions for power, the thing to do will be exactly what ZanuPF is doing.
The Epworth rally is not unusual it is a political norm in Zimbabwe.
So leave Fantan and his gang alone they are just working to survive.
That’s just how our politics is done.