By Richmore Tera
From a mere farm boy herding cattle at Mara Farm in Ruwa, a gardener at a farm along Mutare Road, to a street theatre actor who realised his dream of breaking onto local television and eventually making a huge splash as a sungura musician.
That alone defines man of the moment, comedian-cum-musician Freddy “Kapfupi” Manjalima who typifies the proverbial rags-to-riches story of how perseverance eventually pays off for those who work hard in to achieve their goals and ambitions in life.
Interestingly, Kapfupi – from the television drama series in which he starred as the main actor – has never made it a secret that he stays in Epworth, one of the most scorned and looked-down on residential areas owing to the squalid conditions.
While the majority of his fellow contemporary street theatre actors have fallen by the wayside or are struggling to make it big in the industry, the versatile artiste saw an opening where others never dreamt to ever penetrate. Recently, the artiste was the toast of the town when he launched his much-talked about DVD to his famous album Juice Card, at a local joint in the capital.
The DVD carries the hit video Mai Nga, about a deceptive husband who is caught red-handed by his wife in the blankets of another woman. It seems all eyes and ears are now on the artiste whom many at one time scorned and looked down upon as a mere street entertainer.
Kapfupi’s stars have always been shining on him for a long time, dating back to the time when his father, who is from Malawi, wanted him to follow in his steps by becoming a tailor, according to the family tradition. But his passion for acting and music held sway above anything else. “I am from a family of tailors. My father Joseph, who is from Malawi, wanted me to follow him into tailoring but I had an instinct that I would eventually become an actor and musician,” said Kapfupi.
No wonder more was to come afterwards, like his debut album, Kanga Waya, followed by his second, Zvekuita Sei Pakuita Sei? He followed this up with productions like Notorious Kapfupi – What Goes Around Comes Around and the talk of the town, Juice Card.
On the album, Kapfupi features his wife Margaret, whom he married in 2007 and was initially hard against his acting career until she realised how their future would be hinged on it. Even his fellow actor popularly known as Bhonjosi eventually took after his Kapfupi by roping in his own wife who is also featured on the album and together with Margaret provides the female vocals. That of course, was after he shocked the nation by having his debut street theatre play Magariro, making it on national television.
The play soon illuminated the screen, what with the complementary efforts of his fellow actors Silangiwe Mufabeni (who acted featured in the drama as Mai Matirabhuru, his vocal wife) and his equally jocund sidekick, the famous Marabha.
When the late popular actor and musician Safirio “Mukadota” Madzikatire passed away, many people were left with a nostalgic longing for his acting talent. Others feel to some extent was filled in by Kapfupi who even went an extra mile in adopting the stage costume of a sombrero hat, coat and pair of shorts that are reminiscent of Mukadota’s stage costume.
But the story that many people are talking about is how the farm boy from Mara has finally come of age to become a polished musician through hard work, tenacity, focus and determination. Born 34 years ago in Ruwa, Kapfupi attended Raymondale Primary School, where his passion for acting started in Grade Four.
This was to continue in high school at Domboramwari Secondary School in Epworth, where he unfortunately dropped out in Form Two and had to take up extra jobs that included acting and sewing. In 1998 he teamed up with Jeffrey Chikwesere, popularly known as Aphiri, to form True Vision Drama Club.