The revenge of Willis Wataffi
By Takudzwa Chihambakwe
Contrary to popular belief, it was not some bombshell beauty that led to the split of Afrika Revenge.
And Taz and Willis Wataffi did not form the group — they were just band members. It is over a decade since one of the best musical outfits to ever come out of Zimbabwe split, leaving a gap that has been difficult to fill. Afrika Revenge had blossomed into a mighty force that had taken over the country, but fate had its way.
The Sunday Mail Society caught up with one of the faces of the group, Willis Wataffi, who explained what really happened — and how he has had his “revenge” by launching a solo career.
“Let me start by saying Taz and I did not form Afrika Revenge. Afrika Revenge was a project of some Italian producers and we were invited to be a part of it alongside 10 other musicians,” he said.
“With time, most of the members left the country and eventually Taz and I were the only ones left and we asked for permission from the Italians to continue using the name Afrika Revenge. After recording a couple of hit tracks such as ‘Wanga’ and ‘Anochengeta’ many who did not know our history then thought we were the founders,” explained Wataffi.
Many fans were left heartbroken when the duo split in 2007. It was speculated at the time that there was a fight over a girl.
“Firstly, Taz and I don’t have interests in the same women so that is totally out of the picture. Secondly, we were brothers we could never let such a thing happen to us,” said Wataffi.
“The split was caused mainly by external forces that we could not control. There were individuals who wanted to have a stake in the group but we did not want to involve them.
“Having realised our resistance they went for the divide and rule strategy and unfortunately it worked for their good. We fell for the oldest trick in the book and before we knew it the group had collapsed.
“They succeeded in destroying something very big; something Taz and I prayed and fasted for to be a success. I have no hard feelings towards Taz because I know it was not his fault.”
Wataffi says it was after their annual January break that he became aware that the group had collapsed.
“We usually had the whole of January free because we were busy throughout the course of the year. Come February 2007, I was waiting to link up with the guys and nobody turned up.
“I started calling the band members and that is when I was told another group had been formed.
“The guys had actually held meetings without me and planned new things. At this stage I decided to be my own man. I took my songs from the album we were supposed to release in 2007 and dropped my solo album ‘Zhizha’; that is how it ended for me with Afrika Revenge,” he disclosed.
In 2014 the duo – who had missed an opportunity to sign up with one of the biggest labels in South Africa, Gallo Record Company – tried to revive the brand.
“We had three shows and dropped an EP but that was it. The chemistry was just not there anymore and we could not force it either,” said Wataffi.
More drama was to come Willis’ way.
“When I released my album ‘Zhizha’ I had signed up for a bogus record company that never delivered on what they promised. I had to engage lawyers and take the matter to court were I eventually won the case.
“After the dust had settled, I realised that the guy who owned the record company was the same guy who had caused Afrika Revenge to split,” he said.
In 2009 Watafi was on a roll with Khaya Roots.
“I dropped my second album ‘Khaya Roots’ in 2009 and it won me awards at Nama and in South Africa. I started to do a lot of work in Mzansi with that album.
“In 2012 I released the single ‘Harare’. In 2016 I dropped my first all gospel album called ‘Songs of David’, which I won awards for here at home as well as in Nigeria.”
Wataffi is working on his fourth studio album.
“I am currently working on my new album titled ‘Uhuru Independence’ set to be released in a month or two. Already I have dropped an EP with songs off the album.
“One of the tracks, ‘Nhema’, is doing well across all radio stations.
“The album will feature local and international acts in the likes of Willom Tight, Tytan, Tanzania’s Banana Zoro and a few other international musicians,” he said. The Sunday Mail