Killer T: From hwindi to music star

HARARE - Just five years ago, Killer T was an unknown in the music industry plying his trade as kombi conductor business but now he is a highly influential Zimdancehall star, easily recognisable with fans referring to him as the Chairman.

On Saturday the Takangodaro hit maker celebrated his five years in the music industry at his home ground — Mbare Netball Complex — an event that was well-attended by ghetto youths.

To many, it came as a surprise to note that Killer T, real name Kelvin Kusikwenyu, has only been in the music industry for five years considering the popularity and influence he commands mainly among the ghetto youths.

The multi award-winning musician rose from being a mere kombi conductor to a household name in the music industry.

He recently told the Daily News he never imagined himself commanding such respect in life.

“I used to operate kombis plying Mbare-City and I never knew that I had this talent until I tried my luck in music.

“I started music with the aim of passing time but it later turned into a profession after I realised that ghetto youths were being entertained by my songs,” said the 28-year-old artiste.

Killer T’s five-year journey in music saw him touring countries such as South Africa and the United Kingdom among others.

“Though I used to take music as a hobby, now I am in it on a full time basis. Magitare ndokwatova kubasa. My entire livelihood is hinged on it,” he said.

“It is my desire to keep working hard in growing my music brand and spread my influence to other countries on the globe,” he said.

Early this year, Killer T was invited for a radio interview by BBC Radio Xtra in the UK, a development which helped him to reach out to more international fans.

The Ngoma Ndaimba hit maker stormed the Zimdancehall scene with hits such as Suspects, Tirikumhanya, Officer Mirai Chirukazi, Makarova Gunners and Ziso Rako Hameno among others.

Experience is the best mentor and this is true to Killer T who won an award last year for composing social message song — Chikorobho — off the award-winning studio album Ngoma Ndaimba.

“Growing up without parents is not an easy thing, it forces you to mature and face the buffetings of life at an early stage. I lost both parents at a very tender age and grew up under my siblings’ custody as I am the last born in a family of five.

“My background is still influencing some of the songs I am still writing today. Apart from influencing my music, the background taught me to be independent and hardworking such that I can look after myself,” he said.

Born in Mbare, the Kuvhiringa Pattern singer says he enjoys staying in this childhood suburb and has no ambitions of relocating to affluent suburbs despite his breakthrough in music.

“I was born here and I shall die here, that is where I get my inspiration on a daily basis and apart from that, I enjoy the life in Mbare. If I leave Mbare surely I will lose focus, especially the way I compose lyrics,” he said.

However, Killer T is not the only artiste who started as a hwindi (kombi conductor) but also the likes of sungura musician Jacob Moyana of Kana Muchitidako fame and South Africa-based artiste Mitchel Jambo among others.

Moyana, whose lyrics were viewed by many as dirty, grew up in Chipangayi farms formerly known as Middle Sabi before relocating to a small village of Daisy Hill still in the same district where he did his primary education.

Later, he moved to Harare for greener pastures where he worked as a kombi conductor for at least seven years before cutting a niche in the music fray.

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