Afropop Senior Editor Banning Eyre appeared on PRI’s The World to talk about his new book, Lion Songs, on the life and music of Thomas Mapfumo, and the accompanying CD of highlights from Mapfumo’s musical career. It’s a project that’s been a long time in the making: Banning first met Thomas Mapfumo in 1988 in Zimbabwe, while traveling for Afropop, and he’s been working on the book pretty much ever since. More info available at banningeyre.com .
Mapfumo earned his nickname, “the Lion of Zimbabwe,” for the bold politics of his music, which was openly critical Robert Mugabe’s government. He had initially supported Mugabe’s rebels during the Rhodesian Bush War in the ’60s and ’70s, but became increasingly disillusioned by the corruption of Mugabe’s government. Eventually, he made the difficult decision to leave Zimbabwe and is now living in exile in Oregon. It’s a fascinating story, so be sure to check out the full interview. Enjoy!