Hope Masike - The Social Commentator
In this third and final part of the interview, Hope Masike offers her views on a variety of social issues.
POVO: What do you think of the current state of Zimbabwe?
Hope: Hmmm I know my name is Hope (Giggles) and the album is even titled Hope, it’s very easy to lose hope in a country like this, and so many promises have been made, but hapana zvinombobuda out of the promises.
POVO: Promises by whom?
Hope: Our leaders I mean there was so much hope when Tsvangirai won the first time around and I totally lost hope during the election rerun. Besides dollarization, I don’t see much of a difference but Simba Makoni (Former Finance Minister) mentioned that years ago [Actually Simba Makoni wanted to devalue the dollar not dollarise]. I suppose it takes time as most people say.
POVO: Do you think its fear?
Hope: A turn of things always involves bloodshed, it’s just how it is and if you are scared of confronting your challenges, it doesn’t help in the end because you are not addressing the matter at hand. The corrupt people are getting rich, whilst the rest are suffering and watch their lives pass by.
POVO: So what has made you stay in Zimbabwe?
Hope: You know what they say, there is no place like home. I have been in South Africa once staying at Ster City Hotel. One day we decided to just take a walk to nearby Hilbrow. The minute we just walked out of the hotel, this huge police van stopped in front of us and the policemen asked for our documents. When we told him we didn’t carry them with us we were told to go and retrieve our particulars. We went back and never got out again after that horrifying experience and didn’t get the chance to go the mall. Back in Zimbabwe, locals treat foreigners differently because everyone really minds their own business. It’s safe and the best place because my family is here and also like I was saying it’s more interesting, the struggle is more interesting when you are in a place where things are not so well you push even harder to get where you want to be. That’s more enriching, you learn more, and you get more strength than going where it’s more comfortable to live.
POVO: Given $1 billion to tackle any social issue in Zimbabwe what would that be?
Hope: Gender imbalance. I was in Norway sometime and the only difference between males and females there is their biological make up. Otherwise they have equal opportunities and the women are just as aggressive as the men. You have a dream you go for it. There are no restrictions, on married women as they get as much support as that they give to their spouses. There are also equal opportunities at university where all sexes are admitted on equal merit. If I were to get a billion, I would like to empower women starting with the very young girls, who need a good education to build a better foundation for their lives.
POVO: Which issues do you think should be addressed in the new Zimbabwean constitution?
Hope: Definitely the terms of leadership. No matter how good, a leader’s term should not exceed 5 years.
POVO: What's your definition of patriotism?
Hope: Don't ill-treat anyone; just be a good person, that’s number one patriotism!
POVO: HIFA 2009 - Enlightenment! Your opinion on HIFA 2009?
Hope: It was not as vibrant as the previous editions. I was expecting an amazing line up for their 10th Anniversary, like Salif Keita or somebody like that. Habib! - people just overrated him; his music is tight, clean and good but his performance is not up to par. I liked Sara Tavares whom I knew before attending her HIFA show and enjoyed performing one of her songs! I enjoyed the fact that it was a female who is playing guitar chords, but it wasn't something spectacular. Last year there was Dobet Gnahore, who for me was the highlight of HIFA. I was really expecting a lot more from HIFA this time around, and had an issue with the arrangement that artists with access wrist bands could only get one in if the show was not fully booked. I think they should reserve a certain percentage for artists, since they say HIFA is for the development of local artists, how do you then develop if you don't see the actual artist performing? It’s very important for a certain amount of artists to watch the performances. That killed it for me especially in the opening act where no artist was allowed inside without a ticket.
POVO: So what can we expect two years from now?
Hope: maybe I will have two or three albums, I cannot promise that they will be traditional, probably I will be playing another different instrument, I like it that way.
POVO: Spiritually who or what is God to you?
Hope: Because of my upbringing God is Jesus, Jehovah Jesus Christ, he's the guy who came down and died for us, for our sins. Even though I am not religious.
POVO: What is your purpose on earth?
Hope: Artists are communicators; we create this bridge between lots of things in society. There are a lot of things that happen to society but that society itself does not understand or doesn't see that artists are kind of like the bridge between that. We are the bridge between the spiritual world and the people because artists understand life on a different level. An accountant has no time to think the same way that I think. They have no time to reflect on a why one colour is called yellow for example, instead of something else. So we see truths that are beyond the general truths. I believe that is my purpose here on earth.
POVO: What do you think happens after death?
Hope: Eish, I am waiting to discover that
POVO: Last words for Zimbabweans and aspiring musicians
Hope: Zimbabweans have an amazing spirit but there is something we don’t have and we work so hard but for some reason things never quiet work out for us. We are working so hard on the wrong things. You can spend your entire life working so hard, but it’s not what you should be working hard on. Zimbabweans are always abusing and ill-treating each other somehow. If we could just be good people, God would bless us immensely.
POVO: Zimbabwe is the best country in the world because...?
Hope: Because we are peaceful people!
POVO: Thank you very much Hope for your time and we hope to hear your new album very soon
Hope: I hope so too