Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Correspondent
GROWING up in a toxic atmosphere in which certain forms of abuse are the order of the day may have future complications that can haunt you for life, songstress Ammara Brown has opened up.
Her recent emotionally-charged song Tichichema which is accompanied by a touching video on YouTube, hit the right chord as it is soul-touching and gives a detailed account of the effects of abuse. It could not have been released at a better time as the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence are being marked worldwide.
For some who have been victims of abuse, tears may flow after watching Ammara’s video and to those who have never been in such a devastating scenario, she brings out to the open how her late father, music legend Andy Brown just like any other human being, had his flaws.
The braveness showcased by Ammara of putting to the limelight how her father Andy abused her mother Soraya Khan leading to their divorce 25 years ago, has inspired many women to air their dirty laundry in form of abuse to the public.
During the video launch on November 25, the first day of commemorating the 16 days of activism against gender based violence, Ammara broke down as she lifted the lid on the emotional abuse and trauma she endured as a result of her late father’s abusive nature.
“I loved and still do love my father. He was an incredible and compassionate person, but he was flawed. If any of you have been in a home where your parents were divorced, as a child nobody explains to you what happened.
“I was 12 and asked my mother about the truth of their parting. She then explained to me the truth of what happened. There were a lot of different kinds of abuse,” narrated Ammara, trying in vain not to sob during the launch at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare.
Her creativity in the video that is centred on the effects of alcohol abuse could have, at some point, earned her much respect from her father in an artistic way.
Speaking from her base in Harare, Ammara said the aim of healing through the song has yielded fruitful results.
“The aim of the song was not only for me to heal, but for me to help others heal as well. I’ve healed by forgiving my father for his dark side, and also taking accountability for the cycles I allowed to continue.
“I’ve used my father’s and my flaws to help change the state of our societies’ emotional and mental approach towards abuse of women, children and substance. That’s really all I prayed for,” said Ammara.
She said in her personal romantic relationships, she has been a victim of abuse once.
“I’ve been a victim of extreme emotional abuse. I recognised the familiarity of his approach as it reminded me of what I experienced as a teenager. But because of my warped idea of love, I didn’t have the strength of spirit to walk away.
“I kept hoping he would change. I was wrong, but I finally learnt to love myself the way God intended. I’m long past it and in such a beautiful spiritual state. I’m highly favoured,” she said.
Turning to the commemoration of 16 days of activism against gender based violence, the Akiliz hit-maker said: “This is not a money making holiday. It is a way of life that needs to be worked on, day in and day out. It needs us all to be attentive to those in need and assertive to helping the change.
“We need to teach our men, boys too, that they are stronger when they communicate with compassion and respect. We also need to teach our women, girls too, that they deserve to be respected, mind, body and soul.”
Still in the spirit of commemorating the 16 days activism, Ammara yesterday released another single titled Mambokadzi, a collaboration with Gemma Griffiths. The video further solidifies Ammara’s belief that women need to be respected. On this video which premiered on Trace Africa music channel, Ammara shows that there is power in numbers as she features the likes of radio personality MisRed, musicians Tammy Moyo and Chengeto Brown, something which gave the video more zeal. – @mthabisi_tshuma.