Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

I wish I had met Don Williams – Taffi Dube

By Langalakhe Mabena

When country music icon Don Williams jetted into Zimbabwe for his only show in the country in 1997, arrangements were made that his local impersonator, visually-impaired street musician Tafi Dube, would share the stage with him.

Tafi Dube
Tafi Dube

Well, that was the state of affairs until Dube was told at the last minute that he would not be able to share the stage with his “hero”, and to date, Dube can’t find specific answers why he was disappointed as he was on the verge of writing an incredible piece of history.

“When the Gentle Giant (Don Williams) was billed for a show in the country, the organisers had approached me to share the stage with him and I was ready to skank my guitar alongside the country man.

“My dreams were shattered at the last hour as I was told I won’t be able to meet him in person. I still can’t find answers to that but all I know is that it was a jealous conspiracy by other music players around the city,” said Tafi Dube at his usual performance spot outside Pioneer House.

This was not the first and last time Dube was disappointed.

After being spotted by a Namibian music producer, he was lured to relocate to that country and stayed for six months producing his first studio album in 1999.

He revealed to B-Metro that he was conned over the music deal.

“When I do music, I expect it to bring food to my table because this is what I live for. In my music career I was disappointed many times. I don’t know maybe people take advantage because I am blind.

“In 1999, a Namibian producer spotted me and he said he loves my music and we can make a good team if we worked together. I relocated to Namibia to produce the album,” said Dube.

He continued, “The album did very well in sales and I got something out of it I won’t lie, but as time went on, I stopped getting my royalties. To date, I wish that could be rectified, but I doubt if it can be traced.”

After losing his longtime partner in performance Gertrude Moyo in 2014 after a short illness, Dube revealed that it affected his work adversely. It took him three years to emotionally move on and be able to perform again.

It was during this time that he worked with Dumisani Ramadu Moyo of Insingizi Emnyama.

Moyo introduced a recording deal to Tafi Dube, and it was arranged that Dube would record music in Bulawayo then the production would be mastered and engineered in Austria.

“On my second album I worked with Ramadu from Insingizi and all went well as planned but I was not impressed with the outcome of the album. I am not blaming anyone because at the time of its production I was in a bad space,” said Dube.

Tafi Dube started doing music while he was doing his primary education at Munga primary school in Ascot, Gweru.

A tourist from Scotland saw Dube playing his cooking oil tin-made box guitar, and he bought him an original acoustic one which he still treasures to date as he said, “it is one present I treasure the most.”

Dube is among last year’s non-award-winning artistes to be given lockdown relief packages by the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards. B-Metro