Ndolwane Super Sounds battle over name

HARARE - A battle for the brand name still haunts former South Africa-based music outfit Ndolwane Super Sounds which split last year as they seek to outwit each other over what placed them on the limelight.

The two contending sides are engaged in warfare for supremacy in the showbiz industry. They have resorted to outdoing each other in hosting shows in and around Bulawayo.

Since former leaders of the group Charles Ndebele and Martin Sibanda parted ways under unclear circumstances, the band resorted to sharing music instruments and band members during live performances.

Before the duo’s acrimonious separation they had signed a binding memorandum of understanding which forced the two parties to remain owners of the instruments among other things. However, along the way both parties breached the agreement.

The latest development in the struggle has witnessed Ndebele, who leads another faction being deserted by the original band members for Sibanda who have since offered them contracts.

Initially as part of the agreement, the band members would play for any of the two as long as there was a show but later on, the members stuck to Ndebele.

Contacted for comment, Sibanda told the Daily News that, “I do not know what actually happened to Charles but what I can confirm is that all the band members who were formerly with him have joined me and I have since signed them as my own members now,” said Sibanda.

Sibanda, who recently released his debut solo album titled Bakhuzeni, said he no longer shares the old instruments as he has since acquired his own.

While the two seem to have individually dealt with other challenges, the outstanding issue remains one — the use of the brand name Ndolwane Super Sounds.

They have both vowed to remain stuck with the popular name raising questions on how long they will continue using the same name.

“I got this name from our elders from our area where we come from in Ndolwane as a result I do not see myself changing the name Ndolwane to something else. That is not possible because it will be like divorcing my tradition,” Sibanda said.

“The difference is whenever I advertise my shows, I say Martin Sibanda and Ndolwane Super Sounds yet my fellow friend Charles refers to himself just as Ndolwane Super Sounds as we used to identify ourselves before the split.

“Initially, when we parted ways, we agreed that he uses the name Charles Ndebele and Ndolwane Super Sounds and i would use the name Martin and Ndolwane Super Sounds but he reneged on the agreement. Anyway life goes on,” Sibanda explained.

In a separate interview with the Daily News Ndebele, on the other hand, confirmed that some of the band members had deserted him and defected to his rival.

“I have recruited some new members because all except one of my original band members defected to Martin. So I am still training them and restructuring as we are preparing for more shows which we have already started until the festive season,” he said.

Ndebele released his debut album titled Azibuy’ Emasisweni early this year.

About the name Ndolwane Super Sounds, Ndebele, like his opponent, remained adamant: “We will never change our name because I started this with my late cousin Abson. I can not leave something that directly belongs to me. But to avoid confusing my supporters, I have added another title Amangwe which differentiates us from Martin,” he added.

“We actually had a contract when we separated but unfortunately we could not honour it,” he said.

As the battle rages on, original Ndlowane fans have borne the brunt of the raging name war.
Most fans are not yet sure of what exactly is happening to the former music giants.

Power struggles between the equally-talented composers and lead vocalists are said to have ensued soon after the death of Abson Ndebele who was viewed as a uniting and influential force in the existence of the band Ndebele passed away in 2007 in a tragic accident along the Bulawayo-Harare highway while on his way to attend a fellow band member, Last Fatiya’s funeral.

Before they parted ways, their last project Zethembe was in 2009.

The group’s split is the latest in a catalogue of local music bands which have over the years disintegrated due a variety of reasons chief among them leadership and monetary issues.

The duo ended almost 15 years of working together during which time they churned out hit after hit with a music genre popularly known by its legion of fans as Tshibilika/Tjibilika.

The outfit originally from Ndolwane in Bulilima, Matabeleland South, established itself as a force to reckon with in Bulawayo and Johannesburg, South Africa.  

The band curved its niche through such sizzling albums as Kulindawo, Zambani Likaphondo, Africa, Qiniso and Sunduza among others.

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