When I met the gentle Giant, Samanyanga: A tribute, a love letter, a legacy

January 29, 2019

By Prudence Natsai Muganiwah-Zvavanjanja
I met and spoke to you one on one for the first time in November 2018 and I told you that on your song ‘Seiko,’ you did the “Aah” a total of 36 times. You were impressed and said you would sing it for me at your next show.
But that was not really the first time I met you.
No Sir, I met you ages ago as a kid on Mvenge Mvenge, the now ‘Ezomgido,’ when they played ‘PssPss Hello’ and I thought for the longest time, “One of these women must be my mum!” At my cousin’s 9th birthday party where mum drank Don Juan and played ‘Kuonererwa,’ laughing mockingly about flashy young men, and Aunt Ever danced and sang to ‘Ndima Ndapedza’. The next day, when Uncle David played ‘Todii’ and ‘Wake Up’ endlessly, nursing his hangover.
When I had been sent home for school fees and on my return trip, Mum and I hiked at 4th Street in town and eventually a “gonyet” stopped for us; the bespectacled driver played ‘Dande’ all the way to Monte Cassino High School.
I met you Sir, when Uncle Wayne wed and after the choreography sessions of the week, the song ‘Chido Chenyu Here Ichi’ was played as the sessions developed into spontaneous braais.
I met you when Mum and Dad died, Uncle David too, and Gogo, sombre as ever, asked us to continuously play ‘Mai Varamba’ which was soul warming and therapeutic to her broken heart.
I shall not speak about the numerous times we met when I attended your shows with my family and friends, in particular, my brother John, with whom I would imitate your dances and poses that came with every song you played. We would swear you could see us each time.
We were part of Black Spirits – throughout the Mwendi and Mary years, the Clive, Namatayi, Sam, Charles, Mono and Diana eras, all the way to today.
I met you on my trips to work in the morning driving along Glenara, playing ‘Feso’ and ‘Mukombe Wemvura’ all the way to Graniteside. “Gara wakagadzirira sefeso,” you said.
I met you when my husband decided that his signature farewell track whenever we visited Zim was ‘Ndaakuenda,’ playing it each time we drove off to family waving at us tearfully.
Yours was not just good music. Yours was the soundtrack to my being Zimbabwean, my life. Henceforth, I am not sure how my life will sound. It hurts.
But you did say, “Chava chigondora chozvitungira.” I guess it’s time for me to do that.
Go well Samanyanga, penyu masakura mazunza. I love you. I salute you Mhukahuru

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