By Trust Khosa
South Africa based chanter Dino Mudondo is as talented as he is controversial. Back home, the Rastakwasa Family boss has mostly been in the press for the wrong reasons.
Despite carrying the ‘bad boy’ tag and of course being unlucky in love as he repeatedly claims, he feels people have not understood him.
Dino reckons he deserves a chance to pour out his heart and of course show people that he has had his ‘Damascus’ moment, yet people still see his dark past.
H-Metro Assistant News Editor (Entertainment) TRUST KHOSA (TK), had a chat with the singer (DM) who claims he has repented.
Not only is Dino claiming to have seen the light, he opened up on juju use, curses, new chapter across the Limpopo, impending court cases among other issues. Read on…
TK: How is life in South Africa as a foreign musician?
DM: I won’t say it’s an easy road but as a soldier and with the guidance of the Most High, I think he allows us to fight and soldier on to bring out the positive vibe.
So I will say I have made it home so I can make it anywhere else.
And if you are to go anywhere else and you are to go out there are Zimbabwean people living abroad and they are becoming more of our market.
The response is always overwhelming because we are bringing them what they will be missing from home and also to have a following of those who appreciate my vibe which is 99 percent reggae music.
So life in South Africa has been alright and I think with the plan and what I am trying to do here, I am moving in the right direction.
TK: Musically, what progress have you made ever since you settled in SA?
DM: Back home it was kind of hectic pushing a lot of stuff like concentrating on the family business of furniture and timber business.
I was also running the farm that my father left and it had been too much of time spent doing other stuff.
Here in South Africa, I am not doing anything else apart from music.
So the time is now being spent writing more and more English songs and putting myself into a class where I will be learning to be a producer, learning keyboards, learning to read and write music.
So I have made remarkable progress that I can read and write my music.
TK: What strides have you made in marketing your brand down there?
DM: Firstly, I would like the world to know and the Rasta Kwasa Family and friends and everybody who has been supportive of my career that I made a blunder so many years that I have never spoken about.
I signed a deal for five years which was automatically renewable because I had not done whatever was in the contract for me to terminate and that saw me not being able to perform at any bigger shows, being able to record any projects with other big producers or companies because in my contract for the first five years I was only supposed to release three albums with a certain management that was created by a certain gentleman who had signed me to make records.
Nothing came out of the contract because mainly they have not fulfilled what we agreed on like buying me a house, buying me a car, putting me onto the international marketing platforms and all that dragged my career back.
It held me back because I had to stop doing anything on a larger scale but I’m so glad that after those five years expired, this is the turning point.
I can be able to record and go on tour with anyone I want so this is a new chapter for me, it’s a turning point for me, I am now an independent artiste and that contract has since expired.
TK: Besides music, what else are you doing for a living?
DM: Music is now my fulltime job. I am doing music 24/7 with a little bit of schooling and a little bit of the production side and a little bit of rehearsing putting together some albums that I intend to release on the market.
TK: Which major festivals have you performed and how was the reception?
DM: As a new-comer or I could say a new artiste on a new kind of platform, I have not yet engaged in any festival works or big shows because I am still at that grassroots level where I am supposed to release two albums by December I think.
I should have the first album this year and into next year with the help of people I am working with and the studio I am working with.
Basically, this is going to be like a new kind of music production.
I could say this is my first album at another level and this is what we will then use to market and get us into those mainstream and festivals but that has not stopped me from doing any shows. Week in, week out I have toured the biggest part of South Africa holding shows.
I have put together a band, I hold live shows here and I also do backtracks with the DJs at some shows and I have found a way of working together with my brother Willom.
With Willom, we are doing big tours around in such places as Joburg, Durban, Pretoria, East London, and I can just say we have covered many places.
TK: What do you regret most that you lost from the time you were at your peak in Zimbabwe with Willom Tight?
A: I have never lived a day or come across a time where I think I can I regret in my life, I think this is just the beginning and having been on the limelight – I’d say I was probably in the Top 10 of Zimbabwean musicians of that era.
I have actually moved a gear up from where I was.
Maybe we could perform or travel around Zimbabwe and do a couple of small little gigs and produce more hit after hit and that could have been stopped by that contract that I mentioned, with that kind of structure we were open to what we wanted.
I am the same Dino Mudondo who wrote Ndichakumiraira, Chirangano, Bhazi, Makoikoi, Jatropha and Maidei, Paidamoyo and all those hits that I produced. So I don’t regret anything.
I am still using the same power that pushed me to reach the same level in Zimbabwe. But now having engaged into another country, am not just looking into South Africa but Southern Africa as a whole.
I am looking at penetrating the Southern region and with the knowledge and contacts I have. So I could simply say it’s a picking up time.
I’m still thinking I am growing into these things – until you reach to a level where I had marked myself to be.
In my generation, I can still calculate and count myself as one of the biggest shots ever to come out of Zimbabwe and we have been together with Willom Tight.
It’s on the open floor that me and Willom were or are still the best to come out of Zimbabwe and whatever we do now, we do together.
TK: How did your split affect continuity of your careers?
DM: When me and Willom teamed up in 2002 when I was producing my first album with Delani (Makhalima), he said if you wanted some chanting on your album, there is a good chanter that you can put some works together, it just happened that we became friends (with Willom Tight) and we worked together and the response was overwhelming.
In 2006, it came a time when I thought that maybe as a newcomer, I could now stand on my own and do something on my own and I don’t regret anything up to now to prove the fact that there was no bad blood between and Willom.
We are still working together, we still have ideas of putting songs together and do what we have been doing here in South Africa. So the split could not have been a bad split because we opened two companies – the Tight Family and then there is Dino Mudondo and the Rasta Kwasa Family – which was good for the industry.
To me it’s growth, so while on the same subject it was a split, it opened doors for many other projects to come.
TK: Back home, you and Willom Tight have on several occasions tried to reunite so what progress have you made to convince old fans?
DM: Our split, if you call it a split, it was necessitated by career change where I wanted to grow.
Willom Tight gave me the green light and said you can now stand on your own.
In 2006, I proved it and I did a smash hit Jatropha when I was standing on my own and up to now I am now doing productions as Dino Mudondo.
This is being proved by us doing shows together.
Right now, we are winding up on our Cape Town tour and we did three shows together.
We are waiting for this weekend to come to do our farewell show and afterwards he goes back to do his things and I continue with my projects here.
However, whenever duty calls that’s when we can come together to do A, B, C; it’s not like we are now back as one band.
TK : Did your marital problems stall your progress over the years?
DM: I think this is the part that I can openly say I regret because I had such a rough path in all my relationships.
We should agree that no one is perfect, we grow out of love but I still have hope and I pray every day that somebody comes to my life to stay and we have a family together.
One thing I am also thankful to the Lord for is that He gave me two wonderful, beautiful and very intelligent little girls Vivian and Ivy.
I give thanks to the Lord and their mother for giving me a chance to say I am a father and I love my girls.
But in the meantime between time I will always be waiting for her to come.
TK: Given a chance what would you need to fix in your life which stalled your progress?
DM: I think that has already come that I move from one place to another for greener pastures and I think I am just thanking myself that I have that courage and faith that I could just move to another place and start growing, putting together and building my career.
Without saying much, I think I am in the right direction.
I just want to thank the Lord that I have fixed something despite wandering around one place and crying foul over mistakes and the bad past.
I am that move that I am moving and I set up myself some new goals.
TK: What do you miss most back home in Zimbabwe?
A: What I miss most is my loving, caring father friend, partner and my mentor.
I miss my father who passed four years ago, life hasn’t been the same.
I pray every night for his guidance.
I miss my mum who is now staying in Australia with my sister Rudo and I miss my brother Stephen who is in Zimbabwe, I miss my sister Ivy who is in Zimbabwe
TK: Who is now running your late father’s timber project back home now that you have relocated?
DM: After the departure of my father, things didn’t go well.
We ended up dividing our shares with other partners and that saw the collapse of the company.
We were supposed to go to the courts but we are still in the process.
TK: How are you going to ensure that you keep your father’s legacy in business circles?
DM: We have our properties like a house in Highlands, the machinery at the factory in Msasa, cars we used.
Everything was put on hold since our lawyer is dealing with the matter.
For your own information I was also in business and it was my father who gave me the finance for that project and we opened offices and the company in Msasa.
TK: Do you believe there are curses or evil spirits that might be haunting you?
DM: We are black people born and raised in Africa, I have seen a lot of things with my own eyes.
I have come to realise that witchcraft can be there, people can use juju to bring somebody down.
However, I am very much faithful no matter what happens in life.
Yes I am a black Zimbabwean person and Samanyika from Nyanga and believe varoi variko and ndinotoroiyiwawo but ndotemba ne ropa raJeso and Mwari haazondisiya ndichitambudzika.
TK: Lastly, what advice do you have to youthful artistes who fail to utilise the opportunity they have when they are on the peak?
DM: My advice to the upcoming is use what you got and do your best to achieve your goals.
Set good morals for the future. I see a lot of sextapes and I don’t want my child to through such things
TK: On a lighter note, how have some of the embarrassing moments in your life like being forced to eat raw fish and being publicly humiliated made you strong?
DM: Like the saying goes, ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.
It was just that time of madness.
Sometime I just look back and smile and laugh.
I think as an artiste, there is also that other side of people outside your career that people want to look at.
I just want to thank fans for be so forgiving. They might not forget.
Its livity, we all have our ups and downs.
TK: Thank You?
DM: You are welcome! H-Metro