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‘Paul Matavire was wrongly convicted’

Paul Matavire’s former dancer Senzeni Mazeti
Paul Matavire’s former dancer Senzeni Mazeti

Matavire, who was popularly known as “Doctor Love”, was in 1990 convicted — with his co-accused Peter Mabvuwa  of raping a disabled woman by Gweru provincial magistrate Lawrence Kamocha. He was, however, released after serving only 13 months of his eight-year jail sentence, thanks to the presidential pardon brokered by then Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Senzeni Mazeti, a former confidante and performer of the departed but gifted musician, opened her heart to the Daily News on Sunday for the first time in nearly three decades over what transpired on that fateful day in 1989.

“Matavire was in love with this disabled woman from Jairos Jiri, but on this day when we were on a tour in Chiundura, he got hooked up to a female teacher and went away with her. He was always like that with women.

“When his lover, the disabled woman, came in the night to look for him, Matavire was nowhere in sight. And when she heard what had happened in the afternoon, she felt jilted and plotted to bring Matavire down and claimed that he had raped her with the aid of Peter.

“But to be honest, she was never raped. How was that possible when he spent the night with the female teacher? I worked with Matavire for a long time — and I knew him from way back when we were children because we were neighbours — and he had no reason to rape anyone.  Women loved him and literally threw themselves at him,” she said.

The 60-year-old dancer said during her stint with Matavire, she was the one who would hook up the blind musician with various women.

“He was a sweet soul and had great respect for women. I have no doubt in my mind that he was wrongly convicted,” Mazeti added.

Shortly after his release from prison Matavire celebrated his freedom with a song mischievously titled Back From College in which he chronicled his experiences behind bars.

Mazeti, whose stage name was Daina, said although the affable musician had love for people and a high affinity for curvaceous women, he was a strict boss who demanded nothing short of maximum effort from his band members.

“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,” she recalled.

“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.

Mazeti noted that 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.”

Now whether the former Jairosi Jiri Band and Hitmachine band leader, who went to be with the Lord in 2005, committed the unpardonable sin or not is something that will remain a mystery. Daily News.