Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Dancer recalls Matavire’s glory

By John Manzongo

There are many attributes that the late Paul Matavire is remembered for. His fans remember him for his deep Shona lyrics that were often humorous and sarcastic.

Matavire’s former dancer Senzeni
Matavire’s former dancer Senzeni

Many recall his trademark stage dance that has been mimicked by various dance groups when they revisit his old songs.

Above all, most of his fans cannot forget his lyrical ingenuity with love compositions, which earned him the nickname “Dr Love”.

But those who worked closely with him have finer memories of the lyrical legend.

One of them is his former dancer Senzeni Mazeti who is popularly known as Diana. She worked with Matavire at Jairos Jiri Band and also at Hit Machine.

She remembers a no-nonsense boss who demanded nothing short of maximum effort. She also remembers his jovial side; a happy man who loved his band members and rewarded them handsomely. Matavire died in October 2005 after a long illness.

Senzeni is now 60 years old and she misses the good old days.

In an interview during a Potraz road show held at Maranda Business Centre in Mwenezi last weekend, the dancer recalled her days with Matavire.

“Paul Matavire was a good boss but was also firm when it came to duty. I miss him and I wish there was a band to adopt me so I can earn a living through my God-given talent as I can also write songs besides dancing,” said Senzeni.

“We topped charts with songs like ‘Çhando Chinouraya’, ‘Yakauya Aids’, ‘Taurai Henyu’ and many others. We travelled to Mozambique and West Germany among other international trips. I remember when we were in Germany, our colleague Shanangurai got in love with a white man and stayed behind to get married. We lost touch since those days there were no cellphones,” she said.

“Matavire was totally blind and he often drank alcohol. He favoured ‘hot stuffs’. When we formed Hit Machine after Jairos Jiri Band Matavire was so popular with fans.”

She said Matavire’s favourite dancers were ladies who were heavily built and, because of that, their band was a crowd puller.

“Matavire’s shows were always oversubscribed. We were six dancers and he would name us according to our body structures. He had so much love to his members, but he was tough when it came to work. He wanted girls who could dance in a way that excited patrons.”

She said the culture of hard work that Matavire cultivated ensured success. The members also inspired each other through working hard.

“At one point we had a disabled manager who did not have hands. He signed papers using his mouth or foot. We were all inspired to work hard.

“Matavire was very intelligent. He was good in Shona and as you know his Shona was so deep. He was also good in Ndebele.”

Matavire’s daughter Dzidzanai (22), who was present during the interview, says she wishes her dad was alive.

“I have two sisters, 32-year-old Kudzanai and Wadzanai who is 28. I never had time with dad as he was always away with his band and when he died I was in Grade 3. I wish he was alive today and I could learn from him,” said Dzidzanai. The Herald