By Mtandazo Dube
The wild child of Zimbabwean music, Tererai Mugwadi, is set to be checked into a rehabilitation centre following reports that the 26-year-old diva could be hooked on drugs and alcohol.
Her behaviour has been weird lately, exhibiting signs and symptoms of alcoholism and drug addiction, her colleagues in urban grooves music say. So, could she be the Zimbabwean version of Whitney Houston or, closer to home, the late South African pop singer Brenda Fassie?
Tererai, who had vowed to stay out of trouble upon her return from a four-year degree study in South Africa last year, seems to have gone back to her wayward behaviour. Urban Grooves Association chairman Eddie Dhliwayo, popularly known as Nitredy, said he would help raise funds to have Tererai checked into a private rehabilitation home.
“I thought her problem with alcohol and drugs was over,” said Dhliwayo. “I have personally spoken to her about the problem before and she even came back to me saying the ‘talk’ I had with her had helped her immensely.
“She vowed she would stay clean and for a while things seemed as if they had improved and we actually believed she had become a better person.” Urban groovers close to Tererai say she has always been struggling to overcome her addiction to mbanje, alcohol and other hard drugs.
“But things had improved last year when she was dating Liberty Mafukidze, her manager at the time. The musicians, who are concerned about their colleague’s situation, believe that it is the heartbreak she suffered when she broke up with Liberty that has seen her relapse, plus the other misfortunes she has had to go through in her life.
“Although the musicians volunteered information on condition of anonymity, their chairman, Dhliwayo, said he could not hide behind a finger as “this is a serious matter, which deserves to be treated as such”.
“I’m like a big brother to most of these musicians,” said Dhliwayo. “Parents sometimes release their children directly into my care and I take full responsibility for all the things they do.” Dhliwayo said his association already has a plan for troubled Terry, as Tererai is affectionately known in music circles. “It’s only that the country does not have proper Government-run drug rehabilitation centres, otherwise we would have checked her in a long time ago,” he said.
“So now we have to raise funds to get her into a private rehabilitation centre or, better still, take her to South Africa where they are better equipped to deal with such problems.”
The Urban Grooves Association last weekend raised US$1 400 for their colleague, Luscious, who needed the money to undergo surgery. Dhliwayo says Tererai is not the only one who requires such help, as many of her colleagues in urban grooves circles are also struggling with the same problem. He says Tererai’s case should be dealt with immediately as she is now exposed to several other dangers like sexual abuse.
“Because she cannot control her urge to get drunk or high, and sometimes goes for days hopping from one friend’s place to another, she has exposed herself to several other dangers,” said Dhliwayo.
“She has been sexually abused by several musicians to the extent that nobody really cares about her anymore. But I have to care because I know the talent that she has and I am confident the situation can still be dealt with successfully.” Dhliwayo blamed Roki (Rockford Josphats), who has previously been convicted for possessing mbanje, for re-introducing Tererai to drugs.
“I hear she is now hanging around with Roki again,” he said.
“That boy is not a good influence to anyone — something has to be done quickly to get her away from that Waterfalls drug hub that Roki calls a home.” But Roki has strongly denied this.
In a recent interview with Roki at his Waterfalls home, where a group of up to 30 youths hang around for the entire day, the bad boy of Zimbabwean music said he was not using drugs and did not encourage anyone to. When this reporter visited Roki’s residence, Tererai was part of the more than 20 young men and women who were milling around the yard.
She was still wearing the same clothes she had been donning the previous night at a local nightclub. Tererai appeared unsettled and never addressed the issues brought before her in a sensible manner. Roki said then that he suspected Tererai was on drugs. “Anenge ave kumhanya bani (I think she is losing her marbles). I do not even understand her myself. I think she is on drugs or something.”
Roki was not even sure what time of the night Tererai had arrived at his house. Tererai has a history of wild behaviour, which includes constantly running away from her parents’ plush farm in Mount Hampden, where her five-year-old son Gabriel also stays. She burst onto the limelight as a teenager with her hit song Waenda but was in controversy after she got pregnant and could not point out the father. This led to speculation about the possible fathers.
Several possible fathers of the baby were listed in the fiasco, including Roki and Sanii Makhalima. In South Africa, Tererai failed to complete her degree in Psychology on time. Her time in South Africa is said to have been her turning point, where she moved from just being an alcohol drinker to a hardcore drug addict.