AS she looks to try and once again climb the ladder in the Zimbabwean music industry as a solo artiste, Pauline Gundizda says that the hardest part of her life is being a single mother.
The former Mafriq front-woman, known equally for her breathtaking skills as a musician as she is for her union with equally talented musician Rockford Roki Josphats, recently released a single Ndakakumirira, as she looks to regain her position as one of Zimbabwe’s foremost female musicians.
Her status as one of the country’s greatest talents, whose career has spanned over a decade and a half, has not shielded her from the realities of being a single mother.
“The hardest thing about being Pauline is the single mother struggle. There’s lots of responsibility and less of support. I have become a full time women’s activist now because of the experiences I face. My goal is to make a way forward for other single mothers and for the girl child,” she told Sunday Life in an interview.
Without divulging her current relationship status, she said she was no longer focused on relationships but improving herself as an artiste.
“Relationships come and go I’m focusing on my career full time,” she said.
While male artistes come out with their careers relatively unscathed after having children, the reality is different for female performers. Many have had to abandon their careers as the pressures of child rearing usher them away from stages and studios. Pauline’s goal is to be one of the few women that buck this trend.
“It’s just like any other occupation you have to know how to separate your business from your personal life. I’m just grateful that the gift God gave me is enabling to support myself and my family and they support me one hundred percent as a result,” she said.
Ndakakumirira has been taken a sign by some as a warning shot by Pauline to an industry that might have forgotten her magnificent talent. Despite a relatively upbeat beat, a production that is inviting for those that love to shuffle their feet, at its heart the song is a dirge about heartbreak.
“Ndakakumirira was inspired by stories of Zimbabweans who emigrated outside the country and turned their backs on their families. I wrote and sang from the perspective of a woman who has a lover who hasn’t returned and she worries about him and his safety and she continues to keep herself for him until he returns.
True love is patient and kind and doesn’t judge or keep record of wrong so she is telling him that although things aren’t at their best between them she will wait,” she said.
In a way Pauline is a woman that has been so often defined by her past. Years after she moved on from Roki, he still gets brought up in conversations about her. Few women have been so forcefully joined at the hip with their ex partner as she has.
Her music with Mafriq is also often cited as a reference point of her career.
Now as a solo artiste, she wants to carve her path without deserting those roots.
“It’s still along the same lines of music as the group used to do but I’ve decided to pursue my own flavour of mbira music. I had time to experiment with different sounds such as afropop and dancehall but music school helped me to identify my strength in mbira. For example Ndakakumirira, Isu Takunda are some singles I released which are predominantly mbira fusion with pop music,” she said
Over a decade and a half after she emerged, Pauline acknowledges that the Zimbabwean music scene has changed.
In this new and changed landscape, she now needs to find her position in this dog eat dog industry.
“Since the time we started doing music as urban groovers there is more definition in genres. There’s a natural selection which defines artistes specifically as RNB, Hip-hop, Afropop or Dancehall and so on as opposed to when it was just all grouped as one genre.
Also there are more managers and promoters. When we started there were few to none and it made it hard for us to do music as a business as a result it was seen as only a hobby,” she said.
A single would not be enough to bring her back the limelight of old and so Pauline says that an album is currently in the works.
“Yes there is an album in the making. I’m working with different producers like Roki, DJ Tamuka and TBeats to name a few. gTBeats is the one who produced Ndakakumirira in South Africa. He is working with regional and international artists like Beenie Man, Queen Vee and Buffalo Soldier. I’m also looking at doing some strong collaborations,” he said.