Zimbabwe: Dembo's Rural Home Crumbles

Chirumanzu — The late music icon Leonard "Musorowenyoka" Dembo's rural home in Chirumanzu has crumbled with his widow and siblings having literally deserted the homestead.

During a recent visit by Standard Style to the rural home located near Chaka business centre, it was established that the Chitekete hit-maker's compound is in an advanced stage of delapidation.

The scene casts an ironic view as Dembo, who died in 1996, was a celebrated musician and the best of all time whose roots should be held in high esteem as they were the base of his legacy.

While there seems to be some care being taken on his grave that is located at the Roman Catholic cemetery near his home, the shape and state of his homestead leaves a lot to be desired.

The main house, which is a two bedroomed building, has its chimney falling off while the windows have been shattered probably by children from the area.

The blair toilet, located a distance far from the main house, is falling with signs of no care taken on it. The fields are now a bush and no farming is taking place while the perimeter fence around the compound has been brought down by thieves.

The only structure that looks better is the kitchen hut, which was roofed with zinc sheets recently ahead of the unveiling of the tombstone for the late Dembo that was held in October last year.

Neighbours of the late Dembo said the musician loved his home during his lifetime and they vividly remember the model of the car he last drove into his home -- a Toyota Cressida.

"Dembo was a highly traditional individual in his life and must be turning in his grave. He loved his home," said a neighbour.

"He would frequently come here in his Cressida. However, the home is now deserted and thieves have been stealing property in the house, including his mbira instruments, which he loved dearly for traditional purposes.

"Interior doors have also been stolen and you can see the windows are always open as they are now loose."

The neighbour added: "Dembo's widow and children rarely come here. In fact, it was only last year in October that they were here during the magadziro ceremony for Dembo."

"Otherwise in all these years since 1996 when the musician passed on we have not been seeing them around.

"However, the people of Chirumanzu loved Dembo. After the magadziro ceremony, his children perfomed at a live show at the Chaka growth point and the event was oversubscribed as they sang Dembo's songs.

"The show ended at 12midnight, but people wanted it to continue to the next morning. So, people here are pained when they see that his home has been deserted," chipped in another neighbour.

Villagers in the area, who also spoke to this publication, said Dembo's mother was not being taken care of by his siblings and at one time she stayed at the Chingwizi camp in Masvingo, a place that had been created for displaced Tokwe-Mukosi villagers.

"We hear that Dembo's mother now stays in Mhondoro after being taken there by Rabi, one of her distant grandchildren. At one time she stayed at Chingwizi camp like a destitute," said Solomon Nyika, a villager in the area.

Tendai Dembo, the son of the late star musician, refuted reports that his family had deserted the rural home.

"No, we have not relocated [from the Chirumanzu rural home] and the home has not been deserted," he said.

He, however, agreed that no farming or other activity was taking place at the rural home.

"Yes, at the moment (there is no activity), but there will be," he said.

Dembo's widow did not pick calls when sought for comment.

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