The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Remembering Prince Tendai

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This genre of music called "Barbed Wire" is exclusive to Prince Tendai and it is generally believed that it is Prince Tendai's music which gave birth to what is known as "Urban Grooves" music today.

He immediately took on the music industry by starting his own music label, Hi-Density Records, and formed his own band Midnight Magic. He soon learnt how to package and promote music with assistance from established and experienced experts in the field such as Clancy Mbirimi.

He then started investing heavily in the music industry when his company bought a cassette duplication plant, inlay printer and also created music distribution departments.

Prince Tendai, born on the 10th June, 1955, was not only a genius in music but soon proved to be an intelligent businessman as he started to interact with different musicians nationally and internationally.

His Hi-Density label even signed on artistes who had made it elsewhere such as Kanda Bongo-Man from the DRC, Hamza Kalala from Tanzania, Toyin Adekale from the UK and M. C. Wabwino from Zambia.

He also co-ordinated successful and memorable music projects such as campaigns against road carnage as shown in "Bus Driver" where he sponsored the making of the single record and video featuring artistes like Oliver Mtukudzi, Simon Chimbetu, Biggie Tembo, Isaac Chirwa, Mechanic Manyeruke, Newman Chipeni, Robson Banda, Hosiah Chipanga, The Frontline Kids, Clancy Mbirimi, Joseph Madhimba, Kenny Mwanza and The Real Sounds of Africa.

Going back in time, Prince Tendai released several albums, the most notable being "Serious" with hits such as "From Zambezi to Limpopo". This was followed by the albums Midnight Magic 2 and 3 with hit singles "Sweet Temptation", "Amai Tendi", "Problem" and "African Cowboy".

As Midnight Magic grew in strength, the album which took the nation by storm, "Uprising" was created. Its hit, "Character" became a household sing-a-long-song for a long time. There is still a big demand for this song even up to now.

It is through this brilliant tune that saw Prince Tendai rise to greater heights when he was nominated for the KORA AWARDS ceremony which was held at Sun City in South Africa in September 1996.

There Tendai rubbed shoulders with Africa's musical giants such as Salif Keita, Miriam Makeba, Brenda Fassie, Kofi Olomide and Youssou Ndour. The following year, Prince Tendai won the NAMA award of best video of the year.

Despite gaining national and international fame, Prince Tendai never forgot his roots.

In 1997, he created an album entitled "Mother and Son" dedicated to his mother and which featured the 75-year- old Ambuya Mupfurutsa performing on the album. That was remarkable and it set a few tongues wagging. This went to show how close Prince Tendai was to his mother.

For ten years from 1999 until 2009, Prince Tendai was the chairman of the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura), an organisation formed to stand up for the rights of music composers.

Not only was Prince Tendai a musician, but he was also a dedicated music promoter who organised successful shows for South African gospel artistes such as Sipho Makhabane and Zairean rhumba maestro, Kanda-Bongo-Man.

In 2010, with finances from his Ekhaya Petroleum empire, Prince Tendai ventured into bringing Akon and Sean Paul to stage a concert on the 4th of September at the National Sports Stadium in Harare. This was attended by over 40 000 fans, but unfortunately made a financial loss due to poor organisation as only 1 400 had paid to attend the concert (according to figures released to me by Prince Tendai himself). It is speculated that this became the source of his health problems as he was completely stressed out due to the financial pressures that were brought to bear through this venture. Immediately after the concert, he was involved in a car accident.

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Zimbabwe Remembers Late Musician Prince Tendai

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