Mabaleka was like my biological father — Zhakata

BULAWAYO - Celebrated Zora musician Leonard Zhakata has described the death of legendary footballer-turned-music producer Tymon Mabaleka (64) last week as “the passing on of my biological father.”

Zhakata who drove from Harare to Bulawayo to witness the burial of the former Highlanders midfielder at Lady Stanley Cemetery in Bulawayo last Thursday, told the Daily News on Sunday that Mabaleka masterminded his initiation into the cut-throat music world.

“He was like a father to me in music; I have lost a real father,” said an emotional Zhakata who revealed that the late Mabaleka produced 12 of his 19 albums.

“I feel the pain that his biological sons have been subjected to by his untimely death because I met him when I was very young.

“I believe he nurtured me and provided the platform that allowed me to achieve all the success I have achieved in my music career.”

Zhakata admits that he benefitted from the experience the late Mabaleka garnered from working with legendary musicians such as United States of America-based Lovemore Majaivana and the late Fanyana Dube.

“He was a fountain of wisdom. We did not talk about music only. We could sit in the studio where he would tell me about “ubuntu” and how I was supposed to co-exist with others in society,” he said.

“When I was young he warned me not to indulge in smoking and liquor.

“He taught me that a musician worth his salt should always fear God and love his family.”

The Mugove hit maker further explained: “He told me that fame and money come and go. All the good things other musicians admire about me I learnt from him. He gave me 100 percent love.”

The popular musician, however, conceded that he initially ignored the advice he got from the late Zimbabwe Music Corporation (ZMC) producer, who also worked with Oliver Mtukudzi and the late James Chimombe, Obadiah Mathulana, Solomon Skuza.

“I met him (Mabaleka) when I was still young. I gave him my demo tape after which he advised me to work on a number of areas but being young I was not patient and didn’t follow his advice.

“I then moved over to work with another producer Bothwell Nyamhondera on my first two albums, “he told the Daily News on Sunday.

“After I got challenges in having Maruva Enyika released, I realised then that I needed to go back to the late Mabaleka who still cared for me despite the fact that I had spurned his advice. I returned to him and we released Mugove.”

“In 2001, some people think I parted with him but the truth of the matter is that I quit ZMC because of an unfavourable contract, but from 2004 we started working together again up to the time of his death.”

Zhakata, however, bemoaned the low key burial that the late Zimbabwe Music Corporation (ZMC) producer was accorded.

“A man of Mabaleka’s stature, a man who conquered all in both music and football, deserved a more befitting  send-off. People in Bulawayo do not seem to realise how important Mabaleka was,” said Zhakata.

“When I came here I thought the casket was going to be ferried to Barbourfields Stadium and that the stadium would be full of people because I know the greatness that was in him.

“But unfortunately as Zimbabweans sometimes we fail to appreciate the good deeds of our heroes.”


Comments (1)

Well said Leonard Zhakata

Daniel Berejena - 6 July 2014

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