The Sunday Mail
IN May, Mokoomba were admitted into the Afro-Pop Worldwide Hall of Fame for their contribution to exporting music from Africa to North American audiences.
They join an elite clique of continental heavyweights that include Baaba Maal, Oumou Sangare, King Sunny Ade, Angelique Kidjo, Oliver Mtukudzi, Habib Koité, Youssou N’Dour, Thomas Mapfumo and Dorothy Masuka, to name a few.
While many artistes have played their part in raising Zimbabwe’s flag high on the international stage, in recent years Mokoomba has done more than most.
Their unique and electrifying Afro-fusion and traditional Tonga rhythms have charmed the world.
It comes as no surprise that they were the only African act nominated in the Best Group category for this year’s Songlines Music Awards. They won the 2013 gong for Best Newcomer.
Everyone wants to associate with Mokoomba, including the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) who are in the process of brokering a partnership with the band as part of efforts to improve their visibility.
With Mokoomba’s multiple slots on some of the world’s biggest stages, it will be an opportunity for Zimparks to attract tourists from Europe and the Americas, where the band has a solid footprint.
This year, Mokoomba has staged more than 50 performances across North America and Europe.
In September, they shared the stage with The Weekend, Dua Lipa, David Guetta, Imagine Dragons, Armin Van Buuren, A$AP Ferg and Kygo at the Lollapalooza Festival in Berlin, Germany.
The group’s local audience has also grown significantly.
Recently, hundreds of music lovers, some of whom could not even see the band perform, were crammed onto the rooftop at Ambassador Hotel in Harare as Mokoomba hosted their first major show in the capital after their return from Mexico and the United Kingdom.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail Society, Mokoomba’s manager Marcus Gora said 2018 had thus far been successful.
“We have already done more than 70 performances both public and private, and December will be busy as well,” said Gora.
“Our last album titled ‘Luyando’ is also doing well, getting good sales, airplay and reviews.
“At home, we are thrilled to be getting stronger and we will continue to build on that with more concerts, collaborations, music videos and airplay, as well as identifying areas that we can be useful to our community.
“We have several major highlights in our career so far, like winning the Songlines Awards Best Newcomers 2013, sharing the stage with Senegalese legend Baba Maal at the Hifa closing concert in Harare and playing at the Apollo Theatre in New York in 2016.
“We opened for The Weekend at Lollapalooza DE in Berlin this September, we also played as house band for Angelique Kidjo at the recent Songlines Music Awards and, lastly, being inducted into the Afro-pop Hall of Fame alongside other continental greats is nothing short of amazing.”
He said the band was earning the distinction of being a unifier of world cultures.
The partnership with Zimparks is something Gora looks forward to.
“We are hopeful to be able to help in their efforts to promote select destinations to source markets, which we tour frequently, as well as to highlight their important conservation efforts.”
Mokoomba is working on their next studio album, which should be ready in 2019.
The band is made up of Victoria Falls indigenes Mathias Muzaza, Trustworth Samende, Abundance Mutori, Donald Moyo, Ndaba Coster Moyo and Miti Mugande.