Jiti music lives on

By Patience Nyagato

AS the nation continues to celebrate Culture Month this May, we explore one of the most popular music genres in Zimbabwe, affectionately known as Jiti or Pfonda.

Characterised by a distinct drum beat and loud-chanting personified by the lead vocalist, Jiti music is one of the most popular music genres in Zimbabwe which cuts across most cultures.

Now popular at crowd pulling events, including football matches, sport events, funerals and traditional ceremonies the genre traces its roots to the cradle of the African culture.

“It is a very old genre and was popular among the Shona people. It was usually played on funerals, Lobola ceremonies and other functions where people would gather. Usually this one requires no specific regalia as it usually unites people of different cultures,” said Kennedy Kachuruka, Zimbabwe National Traditional Dancers Association director.

The celebratory genre lives on with contemporary musicians such as Baba Harare and Freddy Manjalima aka Kapfupi are embracing it.

“Jiti is in my heart and I will do it forever. For me I believe jiti cuts across all cultures. I’m not really sure how it originated, but whenever you play jiti people are happy,” said Kapfupi.

Popular among the Zezuru people, especially in Murewa, Jiti music has stood the taste of time.