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The glitzy affair of Bob Nyabinde’s memorial, and Daisy Mtukudzi’s confession



THE town of Kwekwe, in Zimbabwe’s Midlands province, has changed forever since gold deposits were discovered underneath its landscape.

Artisanal miners, who settled there in large numbers – in pursuit of this precious and much-sought-after mineral, have turned themselves into big spenders and transformed this once sleepy town into a haven of merry-making for roaming fun-lovers from across the country.

Gatherings of people in Kwekwe attract extravagance, with those of deep pockets – courtesy of the gold rush – pampering and spoiling their guests movie-style with the finest drinks and meals.

Such was the case last week on the occasion of a memorial for one of the town’s favourite sons, the late Afro-jazz musician Bob Nyabinde.

Despite his roots being in Manicaland, Nyabinde – who died in December at the age of 68 from complications due to diabetes – called Kwekwe his hometown, having settled there as a young man decades ago and established his long teaching career there.

Nyabinde is not the only well-known Zimbabwean artiste associated with this town of endless activity, located halfway between Harare and Bulawayo. The late sungura musician Tongai

Moyo was a native of Kwekwe, while the late great Oliver Mtukudzi once set base there during a transition period of his glittering career.

The highlight of Nyabinde’s memorial, staged at his family home, was the launch of his much-hyped book titled “The Headmaster with A Guitar: Bob Nyabinde.”

Written by veteran journalist and author Munyaradzi Huni and published by his company, The Legacy Diaries, this must-read piece takes the reader through the lessons learnt by Nyabinde in his lifetime.

Some would call it a lecture on how to survive in the dog-eat-dog music industry.

The book also serves as a window into Nyabinde’s life on and off the stage, something that gives some laugh-out-loud moments and serious business advice.

In one of the engaging chapters of the book, Huni interviews Oliver Mtukudzi’s widow, Daisy, on how music stars’ spouses have to contend with their partners’ careers.

The Mtukudzis and Nyabindes were good family friends.

“The wives of superstars face a lot of difficulties, including other women chasing after their husbands,” Daisy told Huni.

“However, the wives of superstars shouldn’t worry about the women who throw themselves at their men because it comes with the territory. Instead, the wives of superstars should prepare a good meal for them when they come home and take good care of them.”

Daisy says while Tuku was still alive, she would get shock calls and texts from random women claiming that they were dating her husband, just to spite her. But when her hugely popular husband returned home, she never confronted him about the alleged affairs, in the comfort that she trusted him.

A stereotype of Zimbabwean artistes is that they are womanisers, but that label was never associated with Nyabinde – a respected loyal husband and father to his family.

Putting together Nyabinde’s story was no easy task, because of his ill health, says Huni.

At one point, Nyabinde broke down in tears during an interview as illness took a toll.

The saddest part was that Nyabinde had hoped to attend the book launch, but that was not to be.

To spice up the biography launch, music promoter Josh Hozheri organised a mini-jazz festival in honour of the “Headmaster”.

Clive “Mono” Mukundu, Kireni Zulu, Steve Makoni, Victor Kunonga as well as Bob’s sons Agga and Albert Nyabinde gave music lovers a great show.

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