By Hopeman Ncube
A war is raging on a multi-cultural whatsapp group known as ‘Mimhanzi yeZimbabwe’ (which loosely translates to Zimbabwean music), it is on the brink of tethering into a tribal cyber war.
The root of contention is who between the Sungura and Tjibilika (Tshovatshova) artists can claim the throne, in terms of musical instrument, lyrical arrangement and branding, ultimately representing and epitomising the true Zimbabwean music?
Maybe some background information is needed. Both the Sungura and the Tjibilika genres’ history can be traced to Central and East African countries like Tanzania and the Congoleese (both D.R.C and Congo Brazzaville, formerly known as Zaire). In the aftermath of the liberation struggle, ex-liberation war fighters came back with the rhythms from these countries and fused them with various Zimbabwean traditional music sounds. Ultimately, both Sungura and Tjibilika were born. I consider them twins, because no one can tell which one emerged first without risking being called a perpetrator of tribal hegemony.
The pioneers of the Tjibilika genre included the late Ndux Malax, Solomon Skuza, Jet Sounds amongst other prominent groups. On the other side Sungura genre was pioneered by the likes of Shepard Chinyani, Solo Makore, Nicholas Zakaria, Ketai Muchawaya and Cephas Karushanga.
Fuelled by tribal diversity, there has always been fierce competition between the Tjibilika and Sungura artists. Times have gone by yet the battle still continues.
This week there will be a showdown between the current King of Sungura Alick Macheso and the Prince of Tjibilika Allen Ndoda, they will clash at Razzmatazz Hotel on the 28th of April 2018.
“All the logistics are in place now, it is more than a musical show or event, it’s the clash of the music giants, kings in their own territories, pride is at stake,”commented one of the top officials of Underground Entertainment, the promotion company which put together the show.
“The stage is set, the sound system is going to be set the day before the event, as it is the norm with international festivals, the security of the customers is guaranteed,” concluded the official.
Also speaking from his base in Bulawayo, a budding guitarist, Fanuel Ndebele, who has been roped in by Allen Ndoda on the rhythm guitar is declaring a war and bracing to announce his grand entrance into the music fraternity.
“We have been rehearsing very hard now, I am under the guidance of the legend Orchard “Chiseru” Khuphe, actually our boss (Allen Ndoda), has been pushing me and encouraging as well,” he said.
Commented the young guitarist, he said “there is nothing amazing about the young guitarists Macheso is using these days, they were just built-up by the social media”, added the Plumtree-bred guitarist.
Commenting on the condition of anonymity, a prominent music analyst commented that Macheso has cleaned-up his act now and his choreography, which was becoming monotonous ,now it has been spruced-up, and the fans must expect a great show.
On the undercard will be the dancehall chanter Jah Signal, an accomplished entertainer in his own right, in fact, he is known to steal the shows when he gets the slot as an opening act. With this thrilling build-up to the show, the tickets being at a reasonable R200, and such a show coming once in a blue moon one cannot wait for the clash of the giants.