23 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Mitchell Jambo Sings the Blues

Thohoyandou — Forgotten sungura musician Mitchell Jambo is making a living from selling discs in South Africa.

Jambo sells discs at a flea market in Thohoyandou, an administrative centre of Vhembe District

Municipality and Thulamela Local Municipality, Limpopo Province.

When approached for a comment, the "Ndini Uyo" hitmaker was not keen to entertain any questions from this reporter.

His close friend said the musician had been making a living selling discs in the country for some time now.

"Jambo has established himself well here and he is managing a fairly comfortable life by selling discs. Of late he has not been doing any shows," said the purported friend, who continued manning the table after the musician abruptly left.

Among the discs in Jambo's position were Alick Macheso's "Kwatakabva Mitunhu (Kure Kwekure)" and Sulu's "Syllabus" among an array of other CDs from Zimbabwean musicians.

This latest revelation comes after a recent interview in this paper, in which he alleged that he was doing well and had since started his own business, although he did not elaborate on the type of business.

Born in 1960 in Dandazi, Hurungwe, Jambo burst into the limelight with arguably Zimbabwe's longest ever recorded song "Ndini Uyo", which lasted for 25 minutes.

In one interview with The Herald Entertainment, Jambo said he started his career in the 1980s.

"I started my music career in 1984 when I joined Sungura Boys which was then led by the late Ephraim Joe. I started off as a doorman and because I was talented I was promoted to a backing vocalist. I worked with this group for a year.

"There were 10 of us in the group with the likes of the iconic Ephraim Joe, who was the band leader, John Chibadura, Bata Sintirawo, Never Moyo, Ronny Gatakata, Moses Marasha, Mike Gunde, Simon and Naison Chimbetu (of the Marxist Brothers fame) and myself," said Jambo.

"In 1985, Chibadura went solo to form the Tembo Brothers and I joined him as a backing vocalist. My stay with the Tembo Brothers was short-lived. I felt I wasn't growing career wise so I left the group in the same year and joined the newly formed Shika Shika Brothers," he said.

Over the years Jambo worked with different sungura musicians before relocating to South Africa in late 2000.

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