Dethroned StarBrite winner speaks out

HARARE - Upcoming musician Bright “Hitondo” Shumba, who was recently dethroned as the winner of the 2016 edition of StarBrite, says he turned down a contract with Zimbabwe’s oldest music talent show because he was already contracted to another organisation.

Hitondo, who has been replaced as StarBrite winner by the duo of Petros Zimuto and Millicent Chapwanya whom he had beaten into joint second, turned down several opportunities to regularise his status according to StarBrite director Barney Mupariwa.

“I only wanted the prizes and the award because I had already signed a contract with someone who is helping me on my music journey so there was no way I could dump someone who has been there for me up to this point,” Hitondo told the Daily News.

The contract Hitondo refused to sign mandated StarBrite to manage him “in all manners including but not limited to entering into all contracts on behalf of Bright Shumba as the StarBrite winner, facilitate the receiving of all prizes and all contractual obligations.”

Due to his refusal to put pen to paper, Hitondo missed out on a recording contract, a music scholarship with Music Crossroads Zimbabwe, $500 in cash or complementary prizes, a residential stand, 20 000 bricks and a phone handset.

Mupariwa told the Daily News that StarBrite is meant for upcoming artistes with no professional contracts with other organisations.

“He should have disclosed that he had a running contract and am sure we could have found a way out. We gave him many opportunities to sign our contract but to no avail.

“StarBrite even requested the intervention of his Member of Parliament, Kuwadzana legislator Betty Kaseke, to try and advise him that a contract has to be signed but it was all in vain. Instead threats and abusive messages have been hailed at StarBrite by Shumba,” said the StarBrite director.

But Hitondo disagrees. He argues that there was no transparency in the manner StarBrite handled the contract matter.

“The contract was only presented to me after six months. All this time they were claiming that they were helping me. They even claimed in some news reports that I pocketed

$25 000 yet I never received even a single cent.

“I am struggling to raise funds for my first album yet I won StarBrite. This is very unfair. Mupariwa is really killing my career,” he said.

The upcoming musician’s stage name derives from what he calls Historical Instrumental Traditional Original National Dominating Orchestra (Hitondo).

“I believe I am one of the best mbira players in the world. I play two types of mbiras — nyonganyonga and nhare. I taught myself to play the mbira in a unique way. I am in the process of trying to record my debut album called Ngoma yeHitondo. I was hoping to record the album using my prize money from StarBrite which has now been unjustifiably taken away from me,” said Hitondo.