Clive Malunga

A SPECIAL TO HONOUR DEPARTED MUSICIANS

When you embark on national projects which benefit fellow citizens, it’s very rare not to face opposition from people who would be holding different views. There are always people who think that you should conduct business according to their thinking even though they will not, at any given moment, commit resources or their time to make the project a success. When I decided to buy tombstones for late musicians, many people were of the opinion that I should not waste money buying tombstones. Rather, I should use that money to assist the families of musicians whose bread-winners would have passed on. It became a hot topic, with some thinkers accusing me of setting my priorities up-side-down.

I was very lucky to come across Mr. Davison Maruziva, a veteran journalist who used to be assistant editor at The Herald.  He called me to his office and told me that I should not worry about what people said but should focus on achieving my objectives because he thought it was a good project. He suggested that those who thought it wise to assist families of the deceased musicians differently could do so while those who wished to support Jenaguru’s project should come on board to lessen the burden on Jenaguru.  He told me that he could not imagine that a 32-year-old could think of tackling such a mammoth task. I was greatly emboldened by his words.

Tinei Chikupo’s Mausoleum

 From the formation of Jenaguru Arts Centre in 1990, I really wanted to make a difference in the music arena.   By the year 1992, the first Jenaguru Music Festival was held at the Harare Gardens.  My aim was not to make huge sums of money, but to portray a positive image of the music industry and our country at large. I am very passionate about music because I am a musician and know what it takes to be a musician. 

When I started purchasing tombstones for departed musicians, I never expected any reward for it. All I expected was to build love and happiness among musicians, the families of late musicians that benefited from the tombstone project and our fans at large. My greatest comfort comes from the smiles I see on the faces of families that benefit from the exercise. I am personally not concerned about an expensive send-off when I exit this world, but while I breathe, I commit to serve the music industry and my country well.

During the 90s, I moved from house to house trying to sell the idea of purchasing tombstones to families of late musicians.  There were no hurdles along the way; instead the families welcomed the initiative. That is when I started purchasing tombstones for James Chimombe, Solomon Skuza, Susan Mapfumo, Tobias Areketa, Jordan Chataika, Leonard ‘Picket’ Chiyangwa and Charles Mapika who was Andy Brown’s drummer in the Band Storm.
In 2000 I was very lucky to come across Mr. Onias Mahachi, a freelance researcher at

Zimbabwe ‘s National FM Radio, who provided me with phone numbers of the Chikupo family. I knew the late Mukoma Tinei Chikupo when he started his music career in Norton during the early 70s. He was discovered by veteran musician Mr. Jackson Phiri of the Limpopo Jazz Band. He was both a polished singer and an extremely talented dancer. Tinei was a dancer-par-excellence. I haven’t seen any musician who can come close to the dancing abilities of Tinei. I remember seeing Mukoma Tinei Chikupo dancing on the dance floor when the late great Safirio Madzikatire was performing on stage with the Sea Cottage Sisters at Ngoni Hall in Norton.  Most fans turned their eyes on Mukoma Tinei Chikupo instead of concentrating on Baba Mukadota’s stage performance.

He later on became a household name in Zimbabwe with songs like Sylvia, Chamunorwa and Mhuka Ine Mavara. He was a freedom fighter in his own right, who encouraged and persuaded young boys and girls to join the liberation struggle through his music and dance.

I managed to get hold of Mukoma Tinei’s children, Fungai and Brenda Chikupo. We asked for permission to go and view the gravesite in Murehwa and the permission was granted.  When we arrived at Tinei’s burial place in Murehwa we were saddened by what we saw. There was a small concrete slab almost one by half metre with no headstone. It did not go down well with me that a great musician like Tinei should be buried that way.

Jenaguru honoured Mukoma Tinei Chikupo by building a massive mausoleum measuring 6m by 5m, the first of its kind in Zimbabwe. I consider it a deserved monument for a fellow musician who encouraged the masses to rise against white Rhodesian occupiers.

We thank Cde Nick Mangwana who was our guest of honour at the tombstone unveiling ceremony. Also in attendance were Chief Mangwende, Honourable Simba Mudarikwa, Honourable Siwela and local village heads.

Jenaguru intended to purchase a tombstone for the Queen of Mbira, Chiwoniso Maraire. However, our emissary to Mutambara, Mr. Onias Mahachi, later informed me that Chiwoniso’s tombstone and that of her late father, Dumi Maraire had already been erected by the family.

We also teamed up with Zimbabwe National FM DJ, Mr. Rabson Umali to go to Karanda to ask for permission for Jenaguru to buy a tombstone for the late Richard Mapfuwahandu who used to be a leader of Nyami Nyami Sounds. The family has accepted our proposal. Mr. Rabson Umali will lead us on this journey.

 We are also in the process of erecting a tombstone for Cde Emlotty Ndlovu, a musician and liberation war hero who died on 7 March 2014 and was interred at the Warren Hills Cemetery. We are currently in contact with Sister Shumbakadzi-Lioness (her stage name) who asked me to do something about the grave of Ambuya Madhuve.  Ambuya Madhuve died on 5 June 2009. Her grave does not have a tombstone and is not looking good. I’m currently arranging with Mbuya Madhuve’s brother, Elisha Rukomba to purchase a tombstone. We

have agreed that the tombstone must be erected before the end of August 2022.

We have already engaged Ngoda Granite Company to make a tombstone for Mudhara Daram Karanga. The work is almost reaching the final stages.

I feel greatly honoured to be accepted by all families who have worked with Jenaguru since 1992 in purchasing tombstones for musicians who have passed on.