The Sunday Mail
VETERAN musician Patrick Mukwamba is struggling to come to terms with the fact that he is long past his prime in as far as his music career is concerned.
The 71-year-old artiste is currently down but keeps throwing punches, hoping to one day hit the target and regain a specific form of old, which temporarily made him a household name in the 80s. For those not in the know, Mukwamba is the guy who gave us the all-time hit song “Wapenga Nayo Bonus”.
The song is more of a local national anthem every festive season as it is played to announce the coming of bonus and shenanigans associated with the 13th pay cheque.
But the track is not the only one to have placed Mukwamba in the limelight. The ageing singer, who speaks with the vigour, optimism and zest of a teenager, is also credited with producing several other hit tracks.
Among them is “Usanyare Basa Raunoita”, “Zvinonaka Zvinodhura” and “Wakakunda Miyedzo”, part of whose chorus sings “…hanzi ramba murume tinwe hwahwa, ndigokutengera chingoto, uyu chake uyu chake.”
Mukwamba has in the past five years been trying hard to get back into showbiz following a two-decade-long break.
But the yesteryear musician, who is on record saying he has an unresolved beef with the late great musician Marshall Munhumumwe for elbowing him out of the group Four Brothers, has been releasing music a far cry from his previous set standards. He clearly has struggled to fill the void left by Munhumumwe following his death some 16 years ago.
In 2014, Mukwamba released a lukewarm six-track album titled “Please Call Me Back”. The album largely went unnoticed on the market.
Following that, he changed tact and started releasing singles with the latest 2018 productions titled “Peace Order” still fresh on the market. The project features Anesu Makoki, aka Lady Sai Sai.
Again, the reception has thus far not been inspiring. However, the veteran singer remains hopeful and reckons it is not long before he hits nirvana once again.
“Things are not flowing well for me hence I have decided to personally go around marketing and selling my music. I’m now creating productions that are better than my yesteryear offerings but people are yet to come across them due to poor distribution networks,” said Mukwamba.
“I have noticed as I distribute my music that I’m still popular. The moment fans see my name on sleeves of distributed copies of my work, they automatically ask me to pose for pictures with them. At this rate, it is just a matter of time before I strike gold again.”
The musician, who is currently based in Rusape, has tried his hand in the sculpture industry and formal employment with an engineering company but says music remains his first love.
“I have tried doing done this and that but I always find myself back in the studio because it is what I love and know best,” said Mukwamba.
The musician’s last notable gig was at the 1994 Jenaguru Festival.
Meanwhile, the firebrand singer had a word or two for Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura). “It’s unfortunate you (this writer) did your Zimura story without interviewing me last time. I’m one of the senior members of the association and I want it to be known that the organisation has lost its thrust. Under the stewardship of Jill Atkinson, the organisation did well and represented our interests.
“We had a pension fund but that is no longer the case. Current leadership now only prefers to offer funeral assistance, which they know is a once off payment and less costly,” fumed Mukwamba.
He was not yet done.
“Royalties from radio get to them whether one is a member or not. Back in the days we used to get them either way. Clearly these guys are converting unclaimed royalties for their own use. It’s amazing how they struggle to pay our dues, yet they religiously collect revenue from various clients.
“To be honest I do not see their relevance. Zimura failed to help me when a producer for a local drama made use of one my song ‘Usanyare Basa Raunoita’ on his production without paying, let alone consulting me. I approached them (Zimura) and they advised me to follow up the case with the guy on my own.”