Seven years after dendera music exponent Simon Chimbetu died, a commemorative gala is finally being held.
Although it took long to come to fruition and is still being kept within the Chimbetu family, the Simon Chimbetu gala promises to be quite an event.
Suluman, Allan and Douglas will feature at this year’s inaugural gala to be held at Orange Groove Motel in Chinhoyi. Simon, a liberation war hero and one of the legends of the Zimbabwean arts industry, died on August 14, 2005 and was buried in Chinhoyi.
It is not clear whether Tryson Chimbetu will feature, but music lovers and the Chinhoyi community should expect anything from the drama-filled Chimbetu clan.
The Chimbetu family continues to produce talented musicians who are threatening to spill into third and fourth generations of musicians.
It is not only the male Chimbetus who have music running through their veins, even the women possess great voices and in some cases, exceptional guitar-playing skills.
Speaking at a Press conference to announce the latest gala on the Zimbabwean music landscape, Sulu, as Suluman is fondly referred to by his
legion of fans, said it was imperative that the nation joins the Chimbetu family in commemorating the life of the late great musician and liberation war hero.
“My father not only fought for the emancipation of the Zimbabwean people from colonial bondage, but introduced a unique genre of music that took Zimbabwe and the world by storm and continues to thrive well after him.
“It is against this background that I ask everyone from the family, musicians and promoters who have made a living out of Simon’s music and the
greater Zimbabwean populace, to come out and support this noble initiative,” said Sulu.
The soft-spoken ex-Air Force of Zimbabwe member said every Zimbabwean who knew Simon Chimbetu and is able to attend should take time to honour the late great musician.
Sulu said it was unfortunate that it had taken the family seven years to finally be able to properly honour their father, but was happy it had finally come to fruition.
“As you know, we originally come from Tanzania. Certain deceased elders of our family there were yet to have proper rituals held for them and so we had to wait until those were fulfilled before being given the green light to properly celebrate the life of Simon.
“The good thing is that the opportunity has come when our family has gotten over most of its problems and is united again as demonstrated by the presence of almost everyone here,” said Sulu.
Present at the Press conference held at Garwe Restaurant in Eastlea on Wednesday, were Simon’s widow Angela, Allan and son Douglas, and several of Sulu’s brothers, sisters and cousins. Promoters Josh Hozheri of Jazz 105 and Partson Chimbodza of Chipaz Promotions also attended the Garwe affair.
A yet-to-be-identified dendera fan who was absent from the gathering presented Sulu with a life-size portrait while promising through Hozheri to
draw a larger one for Simon.
Said Hozheri: “I’m embarrassed by my actions today. A soldier clad in the Zimbabwe National Army uniform marched into my office today and asked if I could help him present Sulu with a gift.
“I never took him seriously. I did not even catch his name or take down his number, but he told me he had left something for Sulu and that
should we find him resources he would produce something bigger and better for Simon.”
Hozheri said he would find the soldier-cum-artiste and have him present the portrait himself at the gala, while pledging to mobilise the resources needed for the guy to fulfill his desires, first as an artiste and as a dendera fan.
Allan Chimbetu, young brother to Simon and Moffat Nyamupindu, the longest serving band member at Orchestra Dendera Kings, also spoke at the
event and praised both Simon and Suluman.
The duo asked the family to continue to be united and work together to grow the brand created by the late Simon.