Uzumba woke up to song and dance on Saturday when contemporary crooner Mukudzei "Jah Prayzah" Mukombe threw a birthday bash for his mother, Shirley Mukombe, who turned 57. Jah Prayzah said the party, which was held at the family's homestead, gobbled around US$7 000. The youthful musician gave more than 1 000 guests, who attended the party, a show to remember when he performed for free.
The party, which started on Saturday afternoon, continued into the early hours of Sunday with revellers being entertained by drama groups and a musical outfit, Talking Guitars, which specialises in old school renditions.
Nyadire Primary School traditional dance group kicked off proceedings with a scintillating performance.
The pupils gave guests a lot to cheer about when they performed the famed "Jerusarema" dance. Talking Guitars took many in attendance down memory lane with yesteryear hits from popular musicians such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Thomas Mapfumo, the late Tongai Moyo, Simon Chimbetu and Leonard Dembo.
Chants, ululation, screaming and whistling characterised Jah Prayzah's entry onto the stage.
This was the first time for Uzumba folk to see their 'son' performing in their own backyard and many could not hide the joy.
Jah Prayzah started with a song dedicated to his parents, "Ngatichengetei Vabereki."
His mother shed tears as he sang the lyrics, "Zvakagara zvakadaro, ngatikudzei vabereki, zvakagara zvakadaro ngatichengetei vabereki, chirere chigokurerawo handikusiyei baba namai . . ."
The energetic musician then moved a gear up and belted his sing-along hits such as "Gochi Gochi," "Maria", "Sungano" and many more, much to the delight of the audience with some having walked more than 20 kilometres to see him in action.
Jah Prayzah said he had decided to have a birthday party for his mother in Uzumba because it provided the community a rare chance to see him perform.
"That is where it all began, I was born and bred here but sadly, the community had never seen me on stage, so I had to honour my parents and the community by entertaining them," he said.
Mrs Mukombe said she was grateful that her son had remembered her while she was still alive.
"Many children try to be nice to their parents when they die, buying expensive coffins for all to see but I'm happy that my son has done this for me," she said.
Jah Prayzah's father, John Mukombe, was also full of praise for his son, describing him as considerate and affectionate.
"The community usually congregates on funerals or rallies, but this is a first for us and our people and very rare. I am glad that Mukudzei (Jah Prayzah) has managed to do this for his mother and all the people of this community," said Mukombe.
Jah Prayzah's music is very popular in his home area and one can hardly pass a car playing other musicians' songs in Uzumba.
Adults talk about him in bars and fields while children try to imitate him.