Zimbabwe’s iconic revolutionary musician, Cde Chinx Chingaira, has died at the age of 61.
Cde Chinx passed on at West End Hospital yesterday after a long illness.
Born Dickson Chingaira Makoni, on September 27, 1955, Cde Chinx joined the liberation struggle in Mozambique in 1975 where he led the Zanla Choir.
Before he was admitted to hospital, Cde Chinx had tried to seek help from prophets, apostolic faith churches and also traditional healers but to no avail.
Early this year, he released an album featuring Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Civic Education despite his ill-health. He was married to two wives with 10 children between them.
Speaking in May this year, his son Deeds Chingaira said Cde Chinx was actually born Dick not Dickson as he has come to be known.
“My father, who you know as Cde Chinx was born September 27, 1955 in Makoni District, Rusape where he also grew up. He attended primary school there at Chigora Primary School between 1962 and 1967.
“He then went to Bulawayo for his secondary education at Bulawayo City College. I believe it was there where he was offered a place to go and study medicine abroad.
“Unfortunately, this failed to take place because he could not secure travel documentation and this affected his prospects for that self-development,” he said. In the end Cde Chinx crossed over into Mozambique to join the thousand of other young men and women who were committed to fighting the liberation war.
“On account of his passion for music soon after he arrived in Mozambique, Cde Chinx took over leadership of the Takawira Choir, which was later named Zanla Choir from Cde Mhere Yarira MuZimbabwe who was transferred to another base site.
“Chiefly, his activities had to do with composing music with the political message. These songs would be used as a medium for transmitting war messages, for motivating the cadres who were on the battle front and also those who felt like giving up on the responsibility they had charged themselves with.”
“I’ve been made to understand that this was quite a crucial role in the liberation struggle as music had a unique ability to inspire the comrades and ensure that they get their morale up and not give up hope during the arduous times.
“I can’t competently state what inspired him to make such music, all I know is that he started singing at a very tender age and has always been extremely passionate about it,” Deeds said.
After Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980 Cde Chinx continued to make music with an important message for the nation. He would team up with Bennie Miller and Keith Farquharson to record his early Chimurenga hits “Ngorimba”, “Zvikomborero” and “Nerudo”.
The band would later include Don Gumbo of Ilanga and more hits were recorded between 1982 and 1987.
After a stint with Ilanga he moved on to join Mazana Movement Band and then Mazana Black Spirits. His most outstanding hit, “Roger Confirm”, stayed on the then Radio 3’s Hitpick charts for 25 weeks in 1989 and early 1990.
Aside from music Cde Chinx was also involved in technical work. He worked for the ZBC as a transmission controller. He later turned his efforts to farming.
“My father was first married to Patricia, who is my mother. They met in 1976 while they were in Mozambique and have been together since. They have six children together though one of them, my brother, is late.
“He then met Catherine Mazuru who he was married to between 1986 and 1996 when she passed on. Together they had three children.
“In 1997, he was customarily married to Ntombizodwa Mangota and they have been together since then.
“Collectively he has had 15 children,” he said.
“A few of my siblings have taken an inkling to music and ventured into the industry. My older brother Lenin, was the founder of a five-member group known as Slice. They were quite big in the Urban Grooves era and put out quite a few records.
“There is also Panashe Chingaira, the young man I am beginning to learn is quite an ardent hip hop artiste and he is doing well in his own regard. I also have another brother, Patricia’s last born, who has taken into music lately and you should be hearing some of his works in due course,” he said.