Clive Malunga

The Day When Conte Mhlanga And Madinda Ndhlovu Saved Me Blushes!

I have helped many musicians without expecting anything in return. I am passionate about helping fellow artists because I have noticed that there are very few people who are prepared to do so. I believe that worshiping God through service to fellow human beings is the whole duty of man. I am not a philanthropist, I’m a human being. I came on earth with nothing and, when my time comes, I will leave with nothing.

When I joined music in 1985, I wished to establish myself as a prominent artist. I wanted to sing and dance for my fans. However, after a while I realised that the music industry was in disarray. Musicians were not united and were always fighting each other much to my distaste and much to their detriment. There was also little recognition for successful musicians. That is when I started lobbying institutions of higher learning and other organisations to honour prominent musicians.  Out of love for artists and the music industry, I decided to direct most of Jenaguru ‘s efforts and my personal efforts towards raising the profile of musicians and the music industry. This was a mammoth task which demanded me to sacrifice some of my time as a stage performer. I did not entirely abandon my own stage performance, but I devoted more time and resources to promoting other artists.

When I heard from the late Mr. Charles Makari, who was a former director of the National Arts Council, that Albert Nyathi was going to graduate from the University of Zimbabwe, I saw it as an opportunity to showcase the other side of artists. Many people then, were not aware that artists can be intellectually gifted people who can perform well at university level. I discussed with Mr. Makari if it was okay to organise a big graduation party for Albert at the National Arts Council offices. I was advised to apply in writing to the Chairman of the National Arts Council, who at that time was Professor Solomon Mutsvairo. I applied and got a positive response from the National Arts Council.

After securing the blessing of the National Arts Council and getting a venue for the party, I had to talk to Albert. When I approached him, he was excited about it and agreed overwhelmingly. I immediately set off to organise the logistics of the event.

I approached Busi Ncube and asked her if she could provide her public address system for a fee as well as perform for a fee.  She agreed and we signed a contract.   I also asked Edwin Hama and Jonah Sithole to come and perform at the graduation party for agreed fees. They all signed their contracts.  I then bought braai stands and ordered food and drinks. We had big consignments.  I could not forget the media to cover the event. They came in numbers.

The graduation party was a resounding success. Mr. Charles Makari gave opening remarks and Professor Solomon Mutsvairo gave closing remarks.  Invited guests ate, drank and danced to good music.  It was a day to remember. During the event, I used my camera to take as many photos as I could, which I later gave to Albert Nyathi.

I was utterly surprised when the following week The Herald carried an article in which Mr. Nyathi thanked Jonah Sithole, Busi Ncube, Edwin Hama and me for organising his graduation party.  As much as the three other musicians had to be thanked for their scintillating performances, it was definitely misplaced to thank them for organising the party. They had only come as hired musicians. When I asked Nyathi to correct his statement with the Herald, he refused. I gave it up because it was no big deal.

The following year I approached Albert Nyathi to assist in introducing me to Black Umfolosi Band leader, Tomeki Dube. The Black Umfolosi Band used to perform at the Ambassador Hotel very often. I wanted to hire Black Umfolosi’s public address system for the Jenaguru Music Festival. Albert Nyathi used to be a guest artist when the group was performing in Harare. These were close buddies who knew each other from Bulawayo.  I presented my request for the hiring of the PA system to Mr. Tomeki Dube.  He consulted with other members of his band and they all agreed to hire the PA system for the Jenaguru Festival which was to happen at Gwanzura Stadium.

A week before the Jenaguru Festival I communicated with both Dube and Nyathi and was assured that the system would be available for the Jenaguru Festival. On Friday of the very week of the festival Black Umfolosi Band was to perform at Jobs Nite Club with Nyathi as a guest artist. I got an assurance that after their performance at Jobs Nite Club they would bring the PA system straight to Gwanzura Stadium.
We usually started putting up most of our festival requirements a week before. We would set up the stage, put stage lights and set up tents around the stadium for those who would provide food and drink. Gigs at the Jobs Nite Club used to end between 10pm  to midnight.  When it was past the usual time they used to perform, I phoned Albert Nyathi but he was not reachable.  I managed to reach Tomeki Dube only to be told they were already in Norton on their way to Bulawayo.  Shocked, I immediately called Cedrick Steele intending to hire his PA system but it had already been hired out.

The show was scheduled to start at 1000 hours on Saturday. We were running out of time. We had everything in place except the PA system.  Temba Moyo, who was Jenaguru coordinator in Bulawayo had already arrived with groups from Bulawayo. Temba is married to former ZBC newscaster Selina Chitsiga. He phoned Conte Mhlanga in Bulawayo informing him about our dire situation. Conte agreed to assist us with his PA system for a very small fee. However, he said he did not have transport to bring it to Harare. Temba again phoned Madinda “Katazile” Ndhlovu. Madinda agreed to assist with a big truck for a very small fee. He said he was assisting Jenaguru as a music fan. Temba had to travel back to Bulawayo to collect the PA system in the middle of the night. He arrived back in Harare two (2) hours before the show started. By 1000 hours the PA system was in place and working perfectly. 

What a relief it was to me! What a great show we went on to have! I’ll never forget the assistance of these gentlemen.