The Sunday Mail
Being a celebrity couple is no stroll in the park (Roki and Pauline will readily testify) and the challenges these couples face are almost double those faced by “normal” couples.Add to this the love-hate relationship such couples have with the paparazzi, erratic work schedules (a live show can run till any hour of the night or early morning) and keeping up appearances in public. Then there is always that bizarre moment, when a reveller can ask your wife out (not knowing that you are the husband, of course), right in front of you!
Then there is the added burden of parenting, intimacy and finances.
It really is a wonder how celebrity couples like the Charambas – Charles and Olivia – have been married for 17 years.
Whilst the Roki-Pauline would be a good example of a celebrity couple gone wrong, there a number of well-managed, seemingly successful celebrity couples, top of the list being the Charambas, Selmor Mtukudzi and Tendai Manatsa (currently on a tour outside the country), the Chipangas (Charles and Namatayi), Elton Mjanana and Edith Weutonga as well as Clare Nyakujara and James Buzuzi.
Baba and Amai Charamba
Pastor Charles and Olivia Charamba have been married for the past 17 years, which could be quite a lifetime-and-half if they were in Hollywood. When they were introduced to the nation, they were already a full-fledged singing couple, a passion they have consistently nurtured over the years. It is that passion which has made them almost inseparable, with either the husband or wife featuring on the other’s project here and there.
But it is planning and prioritising that keeps them going: “It is only natural that we have hectic schedules, but planning has helped us create time for everything that needs attention. We plan the activities of the following day before we go to bed,” said Baba Charamba.
“Even though we are conscious of the demands of our duties, coupled with our calling, our family always comes first,” added Mai Charamba.
They try to spend as much time as possible with their five kids. Whenever they can, they pick and drop their kids from school and find time to help them with their homework.
Their relationship has matured such that they are colleagues when doing business and become husband and wife when they get home.
“Though it’s not mandatory that we stick together every day, our duties keep us together. Being together all the time has become part of our nature, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t live without each other,” said the husband.
He added that their unity has made them become best friends. “Before I go out and choose a friend, I must first seek a friend in my wife.”
Because of their calling, the Charambas conduct prayer devotions every night with their children. Though it is difficult to have free time, they said whenever they are not doing anything in line with their co-business, they call it free time.
During this “free time”, Baba Charamba reads engaging material, watches football matches and writes educational and spiritual articles, most which have not been published. Mai Charamba likes cleaning the house, being around the garden, spending time with her kids and reading inspirational literature.
Just like any other couple, the Charambas also come across incidences where advances are made towards one of them in the presence of the other.
“We come across such incidences quite a lot, but it all boils down to how we react and take it. One just needs to be mature enough to understand that our profession includes meeting people who will be under the influence of alcohol and most importantly that they are our fans so we are left with no choice except to forgive them,” said Baba Charamba.
Edith Katiji and Elton Mjanana
Bass guitarist and WeUtonga front person, Edith Katiji and film producer Elton Mjanana have been married for close to a decade now. Though the couple is not necessarily a musical one, they are both in the arts industry and they experience the pressures that come with being in the showbiz.
Even though it took a long time for the two to get used to working together, their professions now interlink and they now appreciate each other’s jobs, thereby making their union stronger.
“We complement each other in terms of income and we also take turns to spend time with our four children,” said Edith.
Though there isn’t much time on what they would call free time, Edith and Elton makes use of the time when their kids are at school to work on their projects. The moment their kids come back from school, it is family time.
Edith feels that she has an advantage, being married to an artiste as compared to her friends in the music industry whose spouses are in different fields.
“Facing the world as a female artist puts me at a better position because I’m coming from a comfortable background. I have someone who gives me 150 percent support all the time,” she said. “I have a lot of friends who are in the arts, and married to partners who are in music or art, who are finding it difficult to sustain their professions and marriage.”
The couple concur that the added advantage of their union is that their children are growing up in a free environment where they are given space to express themselves.
When it comes to sexual advances or comments in the presence of the other, Edith and Elton said it is nothing new but “it’s all about trusting your partner at the end of the day. Soon enough our fans will know that we are partners.”
Charles and Namatayi Chipanga
Whereas the US has been blessed with Jay Z and Beyonce, locally we have Charles and Namatayi as the local poster celebrity couple (of course, minus the money). Equally, they are inseparable. Not so sure though if they will afford us “an elevator moment”.
They are so used to each other that they no longer feel bored together, neither do they have time to miss each other because they are always together.
Here and there, their lives take different paths.
“There are times when Namatayi goes for ladies’ meetings or her business errands and it is those minutes that I get to ‘miss’ her,” said Charles.
“There are times when Charles wants to be alone when writing songs and during those days you don’t get much time with him because he shouts at everybody and gets so personal with God. And yes, that time I do miss my ever-smiling boy,” that from Namatayi.
The couple says they do most of their daily activities together, be it morning prayers, watching movies, taking a shower and having dinner, among many other things.
They spend their free time braaing, which is Charles’ most favoured hobby that he won’t miss for anything. Or they attend musical shows to see how other artists are doing it.
When it comes to challenges, theirs come when it is time for a new project.
“The time of creating a new project is the most challenging time when our views differ, but we always try to overcome that by trying both options. Though it is time consuming, the band members usually then chip in by giving a nod to the better idea.”
Charles and Namatayi have developed a serious friendship and they have habits of poking each other and having pillow fights.
Clare Nyakujara and James Buzuzi
Clare Nyakujara and James Buzuzi are musicians with an almost identical theme, jazz, but they have refused to marry each other in music.
Though they support each other at times and work together in some projects, each mainly pursues their own career.
However, the greatest challenge the two face is that of failing to differentiate between home and a public place, for sometimes they can have verbal bouts even in public.
“She can be difficult at times, but she always comes around eventually,” said James.
“We take one step at a time. It is not like we have it all planned out. We have our own differences, but we quickly move past them,” explained Clare.
Despite the fact that James doesn’t always want to be left alone at home, Clare always tries to find her way to sweet talk him to stay — and that’s the only time they get to miss each other.
The couple spends most of their time with their three kids.
During their free time, they watch movies at home. They say whenever they are invited to parties or any other functions, the first thing that comes into mind is ‘‘work’’ so they would rather sit at home.
“This doesn’t mean that we don’t like hanging around people, we do even though we don’t drink or smoke,” said Clare.
The couple does not like soccer.
James is a good cook who does most of the cooking at home while Clare is crazy about fashion and decor.
Probably one of the rare breed of couples where both sport dreadlocks, they are quick to defend their hairstyle, saying it is just a style, not a culture.
“I love dreadlocks because they are economic. We take turns to do each other’s hair,” explained James.
And the sexual advances in public places?
“It happens a lot and we just deal with it as it comes and try by all means to avoid violence,” explained Clare.
“I guess it is the handling part that is important. Inasmuch as one might be compelled to respond in a rude manner, we always take into consideration that they are our fans so how we handle them is important.”