The Sunday Mail
Garikai Mazara and Mtandazo Dube
Alick Macheso’s estranged wife, Tafadzwa Fortunate Mapako, has declared that she is ready to have her two children undergo paternity tests “to prove that Macheso is the father”.
In a brief chat at her lodgings in Waterfalls on Wednesday, the 31-year-old Tafadzwa swore that her two kids with the king of sungura, Alick Jnr (3) and Manisha, who is nine months old, are, indeed, his.
“I am prepared to go for those tests with the kids right away. There is no doubt whatsoever that these are his children, I really do not know what has gotten into him but the tests will prove that these are his kids,” said Tafadzwa, who seemed calm and collected, though she has visibly lost weight.
Tafadzwa said that she was shocked when she read in the newspapers that proceedings to divorce her by the sungura musician had been instituted, saying Macheso should have been man enough to tell her in person.
“He never told me anything. I was with him days before that story broke out, he never said anything,” said the soft-spoken Tafadzwa, promising to shed more light when she finally gets the bigger picture of “what is really going on”.
According to sources who preferred anonymity, on the day the divorce story first came to light, Tafadzwa is said to have gone to the official Macheso residence around 5am and caused a scene, demanding to know what was going on.
But when pushed to reveal why and how Macheso could just wake up demanding paternity tests, Tafadzwa said she was equally surprised because their marriage was functioning normally. Our sources though, say it is Tafadzwa who walked out on Macheso and told him in front of his relatives that she had nothing more to do with him.
Whilst Macheso’s demand that paternity tests be undertaken can be a clue that the marriage might have been rocked by infidelity, another emerging thought is that Tafadzwa could have walked out on Macheso because the sungura musician is no longer worth his weight in gold.
Though his fans — and the public at large — were confounded by Macheso’s choice of Tafadzwa as a second wife, as she was still fresh from dating a serial armed robber, more questions as to the nature of the relationship were raised when reports started filtering in, in the early days of the marriage, of Tafadzwa’s expensive tastes and high-end boutique shopping sprees. In one such shopping spree, which brought downtown Harare to a standstill, she bought almost every other piece of furniture for her house.
As she was renting a house in Zimre Park, some suspect that Tafadzwa could be the reason why Macheso had to leave his Chitungwiza home, for Waterfalls, where he had moved her, so that he could be within spitting distance of her. Macheso had previously vowed that he would never leave the satellite town.
But Tafadzwa’s stranglehold on the sungura musician was really felt when she ordered the weekly wages of Orchestra Mberikwazvo, Macheso’s backing group, to be cut in half, with her arguing that “uneducated” musicians could not be paid more than civil servants. Macheso obeyed. The decision led to the first split of the band.
Though Nyadzisai, Macheso’s first wife, solemnised the polygamous union, and even went to the extent of posing for photographs with Tafadzwa, deep down the cost of running and maintaining Project Tafadzwa was taking its toll on the family.
In addition to being deserted by band members, Macheso failed to pay school fees for his daughter, Sharon, who had to abandon her studies in China and come back home. Coincidentally, this is about the same time that saw his general profile decline considerably.
In the meantime, the artiste has been paying rent for the full house Tafadzwa lives in, in Waterfalls’ Mainway Meadows and taking care of the children while the missus was also reportedly getting US$700 every week. With a band to take care of, six children from his first wife – all of school-going age, a large extended family of up to 30 dependants and a high-maintenance second wife, Macheso may have finally felt the pinch.
And now the popular artiste whose popularity is in decline following a lukewarm response to his last album release, Kwatabva Mitunhu, is offering Tafadzwa a measly US$350, a far cry from the US$2 800 per month she was used to.
Whether the kids are his or not, it looks like Macheso may actually manage in reducing the amount of money he was losing to his second marriage.
Efforts to talk to the musician, who has mastered the art of handling interviews with his winding and sometimes meaningless or rather confusing answers, hit a snag last week.
In an unprecedented fear of a journalist’s notebook, pen and camera — the Macharanganda singer last week locked himself in his bedroom to avoid meeting The Sunday Mail Leisure crew.
Macheso’s young brother Talent, who received the crew at Macheso’s home in Waterfalls first indicated that his brother was “taking a shower” in preparation for an outing, either for rehearsals in Chitungwiza or for his humanitarian work with Red Cross and that he would not be long.
And on his return to the house a while later to check if he was done, he was instructed by the sungura king to let the crew know that he was unwilling to meet anyone. “Hanzi dzokerai kumabasa kwenyu (he says go back to your workplaces),” said the young brother.
He was told that we would prefer to get the “go back to work” instruction from the musician himself. Talent went back into the house and returned saying his brother had locked his bedroom door and was no longer responding to his pleas.