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A Catchy Tune Goes Viral in Harare

Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has taken his fight against corruption to the ears of thousands around the world via reggae with a new song entitled “Dem Loot”. The reporter, who has been arrested three times in six months for his work challenging the current government, released a short video on Twitter singing against what he says is an endemic rot in Zimbabwe – and it has sparked a flurry of follow up versions under the hashtag #demlootchallenge. Zimbabweans on social media have joined his “challenge” to denounce corruption in their government, which is blamed for, among other things, the collapse of the country’s health system. Dem Loot (they steal) – an adaptation of Jamaican musician Shabba Ranks’s 90s release “Dem Bow” – garnered 120,000 views in 24 hours on Twitter. Chin’ono’s version laments the lack of prescription drugs in the country’s hospitals and high rates of unemployment and poverty. Chin’ono told the Guardian that music was a powerful tool to engage young people in the country. He said it was important for youth to engage in political discourse.