Was AWA's Post Tribalist?
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Was AWA’s Post Tribalist?

Zimbabwean Tribal Hip-Hop Artist comes under fire for social media post

Award-winning Awakhiwe Sibanda better known as AWA, (African Women Arise) is a Zimbabwean Rap Artist from Nkayi. Lauded as a Tribal Rapper Poet and Artist AWA has been based in Germany doing exciting things like recording Gqom tracks with South Africa’s DJ Tira and taking her unique rapping style to multiple European countries much to the thrill of her fans. Thrill turned into shrills earlier last week when AWA applauded her ‘Ndebele’ fans for coming out for her show via her Facebook account.


The festival in question was the Journeys Festival in Manchester, the UK with GRRRL an all-female Hip-Hop Choir. In what we imagine was an innocently put thank you message was what turned into a tribal bloodbath in the comments.

Many felt that AWA’s Ndebele reference was divisive and unnecessary as they shared their sentiments in the comments.

“Why say “Ndebeles” though. Why not “Zimbabweans”. You are a leader in your own right…the youth and the old to some extent look up to you. Posting stuff like this, creating divisions amongst zimbabweans only damages our unity as a country…No matter what language we speak, we are all Zimbabweans. Lets not create divisions amongst ourselves. We cant still ne fighting wars that our fathers decided to bury a long time ago.” – Tash


“For the sake of harmony, Awa be the social conscious sista we know you as, remove the post, kiss and move on! The ability to create harmony is art in itself. It is very clear that what u intended has been misinterpreted!”- Chamunorwa


More liberal fans were quick to AWA’s rescue basically saying “it wasn’t that deep!”

“I think the post is straight to the point and she dont deserve to hammered…since wen did pointing out someone tribe become tribal prejudice.”- Mandla


“When it comes to thanksgiving it’s something that natural. Allow the lady to appreciate who she wants to…lets not take offense because she is allowed to thank sho ever she feels like thanking. This is has nothing with tribe.”– Tamie 


As the comments rolled in they became all the more aggressive and some were just plain hurtful …

Some pleaded for AWA to replace the word ‘Ndebeles’ with ‘Zimbabweans’ to appease her unamused fans to which she retorted…

“I won’t replace Ndebele with Zimbabweans….I am specifically speaking about Ndebeles. I have thanked Shonas before and Ndebeles never complained” – AWA

Just last week AWA did what read like exasperated PR

“Ok I apologise for thanking Ndebeles only…Thank you to all the human beings who came to Manchester😚”

The Tribal rift in Zimbabwe is a bare nerve that is easy to trigger, was AWA oblivious to this fact? Perhaps As a young artist does she have the responsibility of and we quote one her fans here to, “unify her people”?

Maybe the bare nerve is too easy to trigger and it wouldn’t have mattered what AWA said and we were ready to be offended.

“If I crack a joke in a diverse room, and 15 laugh and one person is offended, does that make the joke inappropriate?” – Larry Kwirirayi

What do you think?

Was AWA's Post Tribalist?

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Stephanie is the Founder of Zimbabwean New Media start-up Enthuse Afrika & the Editor of their biggest project so far #ENTHUSE.

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