By Maxwell Sibanda
I love watching African movies on DStv, especially those from Nigeria because most of them are rooted in real time events that we live as Africans. The story line that fascinates me the most is one in which children grow up oppressed and abused by their step mothers.
Step mothers can even go to the extent of bewitching these children so they get mad, loose their nice paying jobs in the city and even end up as beggars.
In the process they try to prop up their own kid who as nature has it never succeeds in anything; hence the jealous and evil tendencies.
In other instances even fathers are manipulated by their new wives to reject their own off-springs and they end up throwing them in the streets.
A running thread in some of these African movies is where the forsaken children are sent to perish in the “evil forests”. These are the forests that house spirits of every nature; evil and good ones.
Interestingly the good spirits will always defend the innocent children sent there to die and the spirits usually return them back to the community in new roles, most times royal.
As for the royal families where the “igwe” or chief has more than one wife, there is always a tussle over who the crown prince is; one who will be the future King.
The battle is not usually fought between the Chief’s sons themselves but by their mothers who apply all dirty tricks in the book including murder and witchcraft.
They fabric malicious allegations so as to win favour for their sons from the Igwe and at times the igwe is so blinded by love and doesn’t see the real plot.
What I love, however, with all these movies is that in the end the truth always comes out and the devilish stepmothers are exposed.
Most of them actually confess to the misdeeds as things turn nasty.
I also love an ending in which the banished children eventually make it in life through sheer hard work while the step mother or the father who had abandoned him/her in early life falls on hard times.
In most instances the aforementioned parents usually plead for forgiveness from their now successful step children.
The children are always forgiving and reunite with their parents or step mothers for the good of the family. Maybe I am watching too much of these African movies!
But these movies are not far away from the truth, especially in our traditional African setting where some step mothers or fathers turn against their kids only to realise later when it is too late that it wasn’t necessary in the first place.
I am reminded of these sad tales by singing sensation Selmor Mtukudzi, the daughter of the late national hero Oliver Mtukudzi together with her other sibling, Sandra.
When Mtukudzi divorced Melody, Selmor’s mother to marry Daisy, life for the diva (Selmor) was to completely change. Relations with his late father suddenly turned sour and they could not relate very well with each other.
Instead Daisy made sure her late son Sam and daughter Samantha were the only ones closer to Oliver. Selmor and her sister Sandra were turned into some distant relatives.
Before his untimely death Sam was seemingly Tuku’s favourite as he introduced him to the world, which of course was good as he was the only son.
Apart from Sam, Oliver also incorporated Samantha in most of his musical projects and toured with her around the world as a backing vocalist.
Sadly, Selmor and Sandra could not even perform at some of Oliver’s birthday celebrations or album launches while musicians from as far as South Africa could come and grace the occasions. Forgive me because like what I said earlier, I watch a lot of African movies!
Still I am saddened when Selmor is forced to hire a performing venue to hold a concert for Tuku when Pakare Paye Arts Centre, her father’s spacious facility lies idle.
Just on Friday, Selmor and a host of other musicians held a concert dubbed; Selmor Mtukudzi and Friends — Tuku the Music Lives On.
Unfortunately she had to hold that concert at Andy Miller Hall in the Harare Showgrounds.
Tuku built Pakare Paye which has several performing halls and outdoor venues so that musicians can hire that venue and perform there. He also built that facility for his children, Selmor and Sandra included.
Do you think if Sam was still alive today he could hold a show of that magnitude in which he is remembering his father at Andy Miller instead of Pakare Paye?
There are things that we might take lightly but Daisy has to reflect on her relationship with Selmor and Sandra. The whole world today is sympathising with these girls and Selmor is getting artistic endorsements even from well-established corporates.
Daisy and Samantha alone will not be able to keep Oliver’s musical legacy intact; what they can possibly keep is Pakare Paye Arts Centre.
One thing Daisy should realise is that Selmor and Sandra have Oliver’s blood and genes, hence any artistic overtures can only manifest through them. Daisy was just a wife; she cannot suddenly be a musician like Oliver while Samantha was just a backing vocalist.
Since the death of Oliver, all of a sudden it’s Selmor, Selmor, the Gods are smiling at this little girl who had been thrown in the ‘evil forests’!
Should we go back to the African movie scripts?
Exciting mbira player Tendai Mavengeni, 19, launched her second album, Tendai, on Friday.
Nurtured by her parents Boniface Mavengeni and Chengetai Kambanje, Tendai started playing the mbira instrument at a tender age.
She released her first album Destiny in 2014 aged 13, and two singles Munzira yakachena and Motoroodza Here? in 2016. Munzira yakachena got into top 20 of ZBC’s National FM charts, where it sat at first place for more than two months.
This second album — Tendai —is the new phase of her growth — supported and co-produced by some of Zimbabwe’s gifted and capable artistes, including Victor Kunonga, Mono Mukundu and Adrian Muparutsa.
The Daily News on Sunday Assistant Editor Maxwell Sibanda spoke to the diva and below are some excerpts of the interview.
Q: When did you start playing the mbira instrument? How did it all begin?
A: I started playing at the age of nine; I got introduced to it through my first mbira teacher Trymore Jumbo. I chose to play mbira because I grew up listening to a lot of traditional music which had its strength in our very own mbira and that pushed me to play the instrument.
Q: People associate mbira music with the spiritual world; are you spiritual?
A: No I am not spiritual, it’s just that my music is spiritual in the sense that mbira is an ancient instrument which connects us with our ancestors thus making it spiritual.
Q: How do you compose your music?
A: As a social commentator I write my songs based on things that happen in our everyday life.
Q: You are still at school; how do you balance it with music?
A: I am currently doing Upper Six at Mabelreign Girls School in Harare. I follow a strict timetable that enables a balance between the two. I personally believe that talent does not disturb school work neither does school work disturb my music.
Q: Your parents? Are they supportive?
A: My parents are equally supportive and they make sure that I balance school and music.
Q: What are some of the themes in your songs?
A: Moral decay and songs that plead for an end to child marriages.
Q: Who are some of the musician that you have worked with?
A: Victor Kunonga and Mono Mukundu among others.
Q: Who inspires you among mbira musicians in Zmbabwe?
A: Chimurenga guru Thomas Mapfumo.
Q: What type of mbira instrument do you play?
A: I play the Mbira Dzevadzimu/Nhare.
Q: When were you born and how many are you in your family?
A: I was born 13 December 2000 and we are four in our family. There are no artists in our family except me.
Q: How many albums have you released so far?
A: I released my debut album in 2014 titled Destiny and worked with James Buzuzi and Claire Nyakudyara. Its theme revolves around moral decay and there is a song, Tinunurei meant to stop rape.
My second album is called Tendai and I worked on it with Victor Kunonga, Clive Mukundu and Adrian Muparutsa. It revolves around our pleas to God and our ancestors so that they end the pain and suffering.
Q: What do you enjoy doing on your spare time?
A: Well, I love travelling and enjoy road trips!
Q: What music do you listen to apart from mbira?
A: I like reggae music especially reggae from the Zig Zag band; not dancehall.
Q: How difficult was it for you to penetrate the local music industry?
A: Well, because of parental support I have not encountered problems in penetrating the music industry.
Q: Where do you see your music career in the near future?
A: God willing I would like my music to be listened to worldwide. My dream is to spread mbira music across the continent and beyond our continental borders.
Q: What would you advise your little sisters who might want to try their hand on the mbira?
A: I would want fellow upcoming musicians to keep working hard and urge them to listen to their parents.
Q: Any man in your life?
Q: What would you like to tell your fans?
A: I would like my fans to know that I appreciate their support towards my music and would appreciate if they continue supporting Tendai Music. Daily News