The mbira or thumb piano can be considered to be the national instrument of Zimbabwe and Chiwoniso is the absolute queen of the genre. Her father, Dumisani Maraire, a gifted musician and ethnomusicologist and her mother an excellent singer, Chiwoniso grew up surrounded by music and started playing around with an mbira from the age of 4. That being said, 'Rebel Woman' is no purebred African album; Chiwoniso grew up in the US and her music is heavily influenced by genres like reggae, r&b and rock, with the sound of the mbira as the only constant. 'Rebel Woman' refers to Chiwoniso's life stance; not so much as an outright dissident of the Mugabe regime, but rather as a sharp observer who describes the abuses around her without hesitation. With 'Kurima' she criticizes the policy of land redistribution in Zimbabwe and 'Matsotsi' describes the harrowing economic crisis in her country. In more traditional songs like 'Gomo' Chiwoniso shows her commitment to Zimbabwean history and her love for the country that is an integral part of her own persona.