Clive Malunga


During the 1990s and the early 2000s, Jenaguru Arts Centre saw it as crucial and beneficial to the arts industry to engage the National Arts Council and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) on a regular basis concerning the way the music industry should be run. Our multiple stakeholder approach enabled all the participants to constantly interrogate challenges that the music industry faced and to devise strategies on  how to counteract the  problems, empower  musicians and improve their  general welfare..

During the period the relationship between the ZBC, NAC and the music industry blossomed very well and became excellent.  The NAC and the national broadcaster knew what was on the ground in the music sector because of the regular seminars and workshops which were conducted.  We were inextricably intertwined; we knew where we were coming from as well as where we were going.

When Jenaguru Arts Centre decided to stage the first Jenaguru Music Festival, the first organisation to be advised was the NAC. On behalf of Jenaguru Arts Centre, the then NAC director, the late Mr. Charles Makari and NAC chairman, the late Professor Solomon Mutsvairo, invited prominent musicians to attend a preconcert meeting for the inaugural Jenaguru Music Festival.  Many musicians who included the late Cephas Mashakada, the late Jonah Sithole, Charles Areketa, Jonah Mutume and Ambuya Stella Chiweshe attended the meeting. Mr. Charles Makari chaired the meeting.

Ambuya Stella Chiweshe, came back all the way from her second home in Germany to represent women musicians of Zimbabwe at the meeting.  She gave a speech which has been documented as one of her best speeches ever. She took us down memory lane, chronicling the contributions of women musicians to the development of the music sector in Zimbabwe. She talked glowingly about Susan Mapfumo and all other local female musicians who, in spite of more formidable obstacles staked against them by cultural prejudices than their male counterparts, had stood their ground and were flourishing in music.

After this meeting, the National Arts Council decided to make the Jenaguru Music Festival a national event by inviting the Mayor of Harare, the Minister of Arts and Culture and officials from the President’s Office. Ambuya Stella Chiweshe believes in team work. She was present at most meetings we held to engage ZBC and the NAC.  She gave me a lot of support and encouragement when I wanted to start organising Jenaguru Music Festival.

Ambuya Stella Chiweshe is a story teller, poet, dancer, actress and an accomplished world class musician.  She has travelled all over the world promoting Zimbabwean arts and culture.  She is a true and dedicated ambassador who has been using mbira, marimba, hosho, dance and modern instruments to market Zimbabwe internationally.

She is one of the founders of the Zimbabwe National Dance Company which was formed in the 1980s to preserve Zimbabwean culture. She helped shape the work of Zimbabwe National Dance Company working together with great artists like Sekuru Gweshe, Sekuru Gora, Sekuru Simango, and Sekuru Chigamba, among others. It was a great initiative aimed at preserving our culture. I pray that this idea should not be allowed to die but must be revived by the Ministry of Arts and Culture.

At one time we gathered as musicians to commemorate fellow musicians who had passed on. When Ambuya Stella Chiweshe took to the podium, she spoke passionately about fellow women musicians (living and late).  Ambuya Stella Chiweshe has been a pillar of strength for most if not all female musicians.

She was committed to the Jenaguru Music Festival throughout the life span of the festival (1992-2005). She would fly every year to join other musicians at the festival each and every year of the festival. She is a very simple woman and easy to work with. After realising that Ambuya Stella has been a torch bearer for the music industry in Zimbabwe, we nominated her for the 21 carat gold medal which was conferred on her by the late NAC chairman, Professor Solomon Mutsvairo.

The relationship between the NAC, musicians and ZBC was tremendous.  ZBC would provide extensive airtime on radio and television especially during Mvengemvenge which later changed to Ezomgido/Mutinhimira Wemimhanzi. Jenaguru was allowed to start promoting the Jenaguru concert as early as March, when the music concert was to be held in October. The print media also provided extensive coverage of the concert- there was no shortage of publicity. ZBC would bring their Outside Broadcasting Van for 24 hours at Gwanzura Stadium. Radio 3, would also broadcast live from Gwanzura for at least three hours, and music fans would be interviewed live on radio. Fans would come all the way from Victoria Falls, Plumtree, Mutoko, Mount Darwin, Inyanga, Masvingo, Bulawayo and Mutare.

Admire Taderera, James Maridadi, Lazarus Tembo, Zenzo Dube,Timothy Tapfumaneyi (aka Timmy) and the late Lawrence Simbarashe (aka Bonzo) would come on board as stage managers. Hosiah Singende, a radio 3 presenter, was also a regular performer at Jenaguru Music Festival.  He would team up with Isaac Chirwa to perform dub and reggae music.

After travelling a long and productive road with Ambuya Stella Chiweshe, we decided to nominate her for an honorary degree with the University of Zimbabwe. I held discussions with Professor Gilbert Collin Pwiti, to find out the requirements for a successful nomination for an honorary degree. When all the relevant information had been gathered, I submitted our application in 2001 and she deserverdly graduated in 2002. Professor Pwiti wrote the citation.

Touch a fellow musician’s heart with never ending love by doing something good to him or her.