Press Release

Rothko Chapel Presents Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited On The Plaza On July 21 at 7 PM

June 30, 2022


This, the final concert in the Chapel’s Songs for Justice series,

features the “Lion of Zimbabwe”



Houston, TX – On July 21 at 7 pm, Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited will perform on the plaza at The Rothko Chapel as part of the Chapel’s Songs for Justice series.


Affectionately known to the world as the “Lion of Zimbabwe,” Thomas Mapfumo has been a witness and participant of the history in his native country, Zimbabwe. From the bloody years of the country’s liberation war in the 1970’s, right through the present economic and political crises, Mapfumo has used his revolutionary, spiritually charged music to decry injustice and highlight the historical and cultural issues that underlie the news headlines. Mapfumo is a musical visionary, fearless social critic, and one of the greatest African bandleaders of the past century. Learn more about Thomas Mapfumo here.


Musicians include: Thomas Mapfumo, lead singer; Gilbert Zvamaida, lead guitar; Chris Muchabaiwa, bass; Eddie Delissio, drums; Charles Jangano, keyboard; Chaka Mhember, mbira.


“My music reflects my longing, and my great hope, for my home country. Even through the most difficult of crises, I have continued to fight, through my art, for a better Zimbabwe and a better world,” says Thomas Mapfumo.


The Rothko Chapel’s Songs for Justice series has featured concerts and conversations exploring the power of music in furthering social justice movements and addressing today’s inequities and injustices. Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited will perform deep mbira anthems, rollicking township dance grooves, and refracted glimmers of reggae, R&B, and African jazz on the Plaza to conclude this program series.


If there ever was a time when the transformative power of art is needed, it is now, said Rothko Chapel’s Executive Director, David Leslie. “Thomas Mapfumo’s life and creative energy are dedicated to furthering justice first  in Zimbabwe and now throughout the world.  It is such a gift to be able to present one of Africa’s premiere musicians and activists as a way to bring a close to a powerful program season at the Chapel and the Songs for Justice series.”

Learn more about past programs in the Songs for Justice series.


The concert is free with a suggested contribution of $5-20. Registration provides a chair on the Plaza on a first-come, first-served basis. In case of inclement weather, the concert will take place inside the Chapel. Register at this link.

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