The Herald (Harare)

12 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Mpochi's 'Juicy' Lifestyle

IT is never too late for one to pursue their dreams. Fate may come in the way but if one is destined for greatness then it will come to be. One such person who has managed to defy odds to make a name for himself is Selemani Mpochi, better known as Majuice.

The nimble-footed dancer is a former kombi driver who became known after joining Alick Macheso's Orchestra Mberikwazvo outfit.

"I started dancing when I was nine years old, chubby and nobody knew that I was a talented dancer because I never used to dance in public. My former classmates were surprised to see that I am one of Macheso's dancers because dance was my best kept secret," said Majuice.

He has an impressive dance experience having started off as a member of Mbuya Madhuve's mbira group before joining Katarina of the Mukadota fame and then Leonard Zhakata.

"I was young then but that's the people who groomed me," he said, adding: "I also learnt one or two things from Zhakata, who I think is one of the best musicians in the country."

To show his love for his former mentor, Majuice has a large calendar with Zhakata's face in his room.

After his brief stint with Zhakata's Zim All Stars, Majuice joined rhumba musician Peter Tangwena.

"I did not stay long with Tangwena because things were not looking too good. So I formed my own dance group but again it was not paying. For once, I thought I was in the wrong field then I become a kombi driver," he said.

But life as a kombi driver wasn't all that rosy as he had to dodge police roadblocks almost always or worse still go without pay whenever he missed the weekly targets.

After seeing there was no breakthrough, Majuice went back to the drawing board and realised what he had been missing. To him, he says dance was an in-born thing which he had never thought of pursuing as a career.

"I had always told myself that I was going to work for Macheso and when he called me to work for him I did not hesitate. In school people used to call me Zaiko but later Mdara (Macheso) christened me Majuice. I am yet to ask him why, but since then it has become my other name," he said.

Having made his mark at Macheso's Orchestra Mberikwazvo, Majuice says a number of musicians have approached him with lucrative offers.

"I joined the group at a time when other dancers were leaving but I told myself that I would never leave Macheso. In fact, a friend of mine Walker Mukweveri advised that I should focus on Macheso and only consider leaving if I get offer from overseas," he said.

The former Kambuzuma High 2 student said he gets his dance moves from other people and watches videos of other top musicians like Koffi Olomide.

"My dances are inspired by anything that moves, including chickens and cattle, or from various international artistes," he said.

Born in 1987, Majuice said there was no bad blood between him and ex-group member Franco "Slomo" Dhaka saying they complemented each other.

"I had a good combination with Slomo and he used to say we had a formidable combination," he said.

The father of one said his life has improved significantly ever since joining Macheso.

"I used to live in Kambuzuma but now I am in the Avenues area, I think my life is going towards where I want it to be," he said.

During his spare time he enjoys watching movies and exercising.

"I exercise a lot because sometimes we go for more than three hours on stage, so it needs physical and mental fitness," he said.

Apart from exercising, Majuice religiously reads H-Metro and The Herald.

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