Celebrate African weirdos & challenge bigotry with this Zimbabwean artist’s rock/hip-hop sounds
By Sound Check
July 12, 2018
The musical soul of Zimbabwe’s alternative subculture and compassionate artistry are alive and Hillary Keni-Witsani is making sure it stays that way. A champion of diversity and being yourself, Keni-Witsani’s new album File 51 is a soundtrack of liberation and self-acceptance. A breathtakingly cinematic collection of soundscapes, as heard on ‘Bipolar’ ft. Sinkende and ‘Alt State’ to the comforting acoustic melody on ‘Far From Home’ ft. JustPercy, File 51 is utterly refreshing and unexpected throughout. “I dress and live differently because that’s how I feel and I strive to be good to people and the environment because that’s is how I live and wish others to do the same, but above all I want to make music with sound and writing of unrivalled quality because the alternative community tends to concentrate on being different and neglects to make their art do the talking,” says Hillary Keni-Witsani.
“My concern with this project is home because that is where love and bigotry is cultivated[…]All the men where I grew up jump the border to South Africa and Botswana and leave gaps that shape generations, while also meeting hatred and xenophobia directed towards them as migrant labour, and so I pay close attention to those issues and wonder why humanity can’t be more welcoming and spread love.”