Book Cafe to host Tazvida commemoration gig

HARARE - Several leading musicians will grace a concert to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the death of smoko music founder Fanuel ‘System’ Tazvida at the Book Café on Saturday.

The weekend event, expected to be attended by leading musicians,  including Alick Macheso, Suluman Chimbetu, Kiren Zulu and Nicholas Zakaria, will pay fitting homage to a unique musician whose craft was anchored on his rural background.

System, who performed with artistes like Tineyi Chikupo, Cephas Karushanga and Ephraim Joe who are all late, in addition to Khiama Boys founder Nicholas Zakaria, during his illustrious career, found joy in ridiculing himself.

In keeping with his unique sense of humour, the Zaka-born artiste disparagingly nicknamed himself Tazvida wezhira irombe (Tazvida a vagabond from Masvingo Province).

All his albums from Rudo, Tsika Nemagariro (1993); Rwendo Rweupenyu (1994); Mutunhu Une Mago (1995); Wadenha Mago (1996); Watosvorwa (1997); and Huni Nyoro Mumoto (1998) were full of wit and advice.

System never apologised for championing lyrics that resonated with the rural populace.

Since 1999, several musicians have attempted to mimic his brand of music but they have all fallen short.

The smoko founder’s brother Peter, who released the album Rimi Remoto the year System died, fared fairly better than the other pretenders to the Watosvorwa singer’s throne.

Peter’s death in 2002 robbed System of a fairly competent heir.

After him came Lee Roy Lunga and System’s brother, Isaac.

Apart from generating acres of newspaper space over their squabbles over the use of the name Smoko, the two have failed to fit in System’s big shoes.

Lee Roy is still fairly active, but Isaac has reportedly relocated to Mozambique.

The smoko baton has now been passed to upcoming musician King Tazvida who should use the Saturday show at the Book Café to prove his credentials.

Malvern Mutowamanja, who manages King’s affairs, believes the upcoming musician is the real deal.

“Reviving the smoko genre is not a simple thing but King has what it takes to do just that.

“We have sealed a deal with Macheso. We will move around the country with him playing as the opening act in his concerts,” said Mutowamanja.

He added that since the Dhiya Ungwarire singer passed away in 1999, the music landscape has drastically changed that is why Saturday’s event will be held in a venue not associated with smoko music.

“Smoko music was popular with farm and mine workers during the 1990s but things have changed since then.

“We are now taking the genre to upmarket areas and that is the reason why we have decided to hold this year’s commemoration at Book Cafe,” he said adding that a small commemoration gala will be held in Gutu soon to cater for Tazvida’s rural fans.

Meanwhile, System’s surviving widow Barbara Mabuyaye Tazvida yesterday posted a message on Facebook commemorating her late husband’s death.

Read part of the message: “It is now 15 years watisiya. A thousand words won’t bring you back, I know because I’ve tried. Neither will a million tears, I know because I’ve cried. Always on my mind and forever in my heart. I love you and miss you mudiwa R.I.P Nyasha Fanuel.”


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