She is one of the most talented female vocalists to ever grace the country and yet she seems not to have reached the pinnacle of her music career.
Her name is Pauline Gundidza popularly known as Mai Sky and her claim to fame is when she was part of the musical group Mafriq which blessed musical ears with hits like Ndomuudza Sei and Zuva.
She is in her early 30s and with the amount of her talent , many would expect her to be sitting on top of the world, but such is not the case.
Not even that infectious and captivating smile that she is always wearing on her face can hide the sadness visible in her eyes if one is to give her a ‘hawk-eye’ look.
She has had a turbulent life that has often threatened to give a stunted growth or rather stillbirth to her career, but she refuse to give up- still she rises! Like her daughter’s name (Sky), she believes the sky is the limit.
She rushed into marriage when she had a union with equally talented Rockford ‘Roki Josphats in what was perceived by many as a ‘power couple’ .
The couple did not however live happily ever after like the ones in the fairy tales but the union produced two beautiful daughters namely Sky and Minana.
Pauline and Roki are ‘happily divorced’ and besides sharing offsprings , they work together in the studio every now and then.
As I dined with Pauline at a local eatery last week, she told me she was on her way to a local studio after our lunch.
She was doing touch ups on the production of a song in commemoration of 16 days of activism against gender based violence.
The hawk-eye in me saw the sadness she tried to hide behind a smile especially when she touched about that subject (16 days of activism against gender based violence).
Asked on what had inspired her to participate in that movement she had a sad tale to tell. “Well, the name of the song is Chioko, I was inspired by the theme for this year’s 16 days of activism against gender based violence. This year it targets sexual harassment and rape in the workplace,” she said.
She revealed that she was a victim of sexual harassment in her line of work where some promoters and producers demand sex for studio time or for show bookings among other favours.
Pauline knows not how to hold a gun to fight back and her only weapon is the microphone hence she decided to got to the studio which is her battlefield.
The song Chioko not only chronicles her own experiences but it’s a ‘war cry’ for all female musicians to stand up against sexual harassment in the industry
“I had my own personal experiences with certain male superiors in our industry who will misuse their positions of authority to attempt to extract sexual favours from female artists. This has been a problem for many of us and this year we are speaking out.Enough is enough.We need to explore our art and talent without fear.I dealt with the guy in question and we had negotiations where he apologised and I am sure if he listens to this song he will feel bad.
“Some of the girls will have to give in.Haungati pese pawada kuti ubudirire nemusic yako wokumbirwa stonyi (sic).Its sad some girls give in.How does our industry grow?” asked Pauline .
Even after high levels persuasion, Pauline refused to reveal the name of the alleged pervert for personal reasons.
“The name does not matter now, what matter is the action I have taken to make other women stand tall,” she said.
Pauline said the track Chioko was produced by DJ Holy at Patsime Trust under a project called Shaura.
It is a mbira afro-pop track and was officially released last Sunday to coincide with the beginning of the 16 days of activism against gender based violence.
Last year she was also part of a compilation titled ‘No To Abuse’ which featured 10 female artistes including Ninja Lipsy,DaRula,Kadijah,Nina Grande among others.
In this compilation, the artistes gave different perspectives regarding gender based violence.
They had a series of show in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Pauline’s case is just a microcosm of the macrocosm in regards sexual harassment of female musicians in the industry .Most cases have not been reported where perpetrators use force or money to gag the victims.