Talented musician Dereck Mpofu (27) has caused quite a stir on the local scene with his lyrics that advocate for environmental conservation. Mpofu came into the limelight after releasing hit song Chisikana Changu Zimbabwe which received extensive air play. He’s one of the people who survived a cholera attack that claimed thousands of lives in Harare in 2011. Last year he was indefinitely appointed City of Harare Goodwill Ambassador for Water Conservation and Zero Littering, an initiative being spearheaded by the Water Department. Harare News caught up with him to find out what he’s been up to since becoming ambassador.
Who is Dereck Mpofu?
I would describe myself as a philanthropist who uses music to stand for the marginalised, an environmentalist at heart who sings about issues that other musicians tend to turn a blind eye to. I am married with two children and I believe family is the fabric of society.
What are your duties as the Goodwill Ambassador for Water Conservation and Zero Littering?
I work with City of Harare and the Ministry of Environment and Water Conservation to conduct environmental awareness campaigns on water conservation and waste management among other things in various parts of the city. I appeal to residents through public speaking and music to conserve their environment, and I go into schools educating students on the environmental dos and don’ts.
Why are you so passionate about the environment?
I am disturbed by the idea of a future without the resources that people are wasting away. I would not like the next generations to read about the beauty that used to exist or only see it in pictures. I want them to see it firsthand just like we are seeing it.
There has been a public outcry about big corporations building on wetlands. What have you done or what are you doing to ensure the public concerns are heard?
I wrote a song entitled Wetlands which advocates for wetland conservation. The song is on my last album Mr. Green Ambassador Sir.
What are your major challenges in advocating for environmental conservation?
Bureaucracy within the local authority set up. It takes way too long to address issues because of the hierarchy one has to follow. Another challenge is that environmental issues are not taken with as much seriousness as issues of economy, health or education. In this way they always come last on the list of priorities.
What has been your greatest achievement?
Delivering music that’s relevant to people. This has rallied many people behind environmental conservation and now many big companies are even setting up a budget for environmental conservation within their organisations.
Any future plans?
I have assembled a 50-member group comprised of young people from different backgrounds, among them disabled, albinos, orphans and people of different cultures and races into what has become the Green Rainbow Choir. This choir is going to perform at the Green Concert set for September where various artists will showcase their talents advocating for a green environment. We will confirm dates and venue of the concert in due course.