By Bruce Ndlovu
While other soccer stars that entered their prime at the end of the last millennium might be struggling to find their way in a world far away from the soccer field, former Highlanders and Amazulu star Malvern Ntini has found a new lease of life in music, with his record label, RainyDayz Entertainment making waves in the United States.
Ntini, who was recently in the country, has come a long way from the dusty streets of Mpopoma where he was plucked by the then Ernest Maphepha Sibanda-run Mthala Football Club before he eventually found himself in Rahman Gumbo’s championship winning Bosso side.
“I started my soccer career in Mpopoma, playing for Mthala Under-15s which was run by Ernest Maphepha at the time where I graduated to Under-19 programme. Charles Mhlauri then came and recruited quite a few of us to his Phinda-Mzala project which did very well in 1996, but did not last that long. After that, Delma Lupepe’s Amazulu gave me my first contract before I moved to Highlanders under Rahman Gumbo in 1998 and 1999,” he told Sunday Life.
Ntini’s stay at the Bulawayo giants was to be short, as he soon found himself far from the lush green turf of Emagumeni.
“I moved to the USA in 2000 to attend college. My uncle facilitated the move and I arrived on a Friday and that next Monday I was in class. That started my American academic career. After a few weeks in college, Mubariki “Mamba” Chisoni facilitated a try out at his University at the time and a couple weeks after that try out, I got a call from a coach in Oklahoma and he offered me a full ride scholarship in soccer at Northern Oklahoma College where I graduated with an Associate degree in Computer Science.
“I then moved to North Eastern State University where I also got a full ride scholarship in soccer and I graduated with my Bachelors Degree in Management of Information Systems. After that I have worked in Corporate America for the last 14 years in various IT departments while also managing some IT departments,” he said.
After almost a decade-and-a-half working in the world of IT, Ntini’s life took another detour as he decided to pursue a life in music management. Two years later, he is on the cusp of bringing his roster of artistes to his home city.
“Two years ago, my wife Marion Ntini came to me and suggested that we start an entertainment company based on our love for music, fashion and arts. I was very hesitant at the time, but ended up reluctantly doing it. We recruited a few very talented artistes Dommy P, SauceGame, Melloh as well as Rees Sav and got our company registered. Little did we know where we were headed with this.
“We have put in so much work and have a lot of music which will be released shortly as we are working on the packaging, marketing and publishing logistics. RainyDayz ENT artistes will actually be in Zimbabwe and South Africa for three weeks starting in mid-October through mid November to record, maybe perform, shoot videos for the new songs they have and more importantly, do a lot of philanthropic work with the community,” he said.
Besides his work in America, which last week got the seal of approval from Secretary of State for Washington Kim Wyman, Ntini is keen to give back to the country of his birth using music, fashion and other forms of entertainment as a vehicle.
He recently formed RainyDayz Entertainment Foundation with a focus on youth mentorship, girl child and women empowerment as well as combating hunger.
“I’m a Bulawayo boy, more specifically, Mpopoma. After being in America for almost 20 years, I think it is time for me to contribute back to the city in whichever small way I can and I am committing myself and my future to do just that. I remember growing up with very little and no opportunities in Zimbabwe, and I know I was not the only one, so every time when I visit home and I see young children and youths going through what I went through as a young one, there is a calling in me to do something and now is the time for me to commit myself,” he said. SundayNews