Friday 16 September 2011

Maskiri, the day he fell off fourth floor

(pic greedysouth)

The call came around 11am on a Sunday. I was working on the Monday pages. The female voice on the other end told me that Maskiri had been hospitalized at Parirenyatwa.
‘He was thrown off a balcony at a flat in the Avenues,’ the voice told me.
I gasped, ‘Are you sure?
‘Honestly, why would I lie to you?’ And she was gone.
The corridor at Parirenyatwa was scattered with bloodied people. Some were lying on stretchers while others sat on the floor.
It was not visiting time so I had to be careful. There were two ways to get in – either lie about being Maskiri’s brother or cousin. Or just walk in as if I knew where I was going and who I wanted to see. I had done it before – successfully.
I opted for the second choice. But realised that I did not know the ward where Maskiri was. I stopped just when a nurse was passing me. She was an elderly lady who also stopped and asked me whether everything was okay.
I had to be honest and ask her for help otherwise I would go back without the story. I told her then that I wanted to see Maskiri. She knew where he was.
‘It’s not visiting hour,’ she reminded me.
‘That is the point why I am trying to walk in like this unnoticed,’ I told her. ‘I can’t wait for the visiting hour.’
She stared at me, suspiciously.
‘I am sorry,’ I apologised. ‘I am from the Herald.’
‘It does not matter. You have to wait for visiting hour,’ she insisted.
‘I know but if I do, someone might get to him before I do,’ I panted.
She stared at me still and then smiled, ‘I can’t let you in.’
I stood there, drained.
‘How do I know you are from the Herald?’ She asked.
I fumbled for my press card which I passed on to her. She took it, studied the picture and then glanced at me. ‘Wonder?’ she said.
I nodded.
‘You have five minutes. No cameras and no reference to me,’ she said, handing me the press card and leading me to the ward where Maskiri was.
Maskiri was lying on his back, talking to another patient. He sat up when he saw the nurse leading me towards his bed.
‘Visitor,’ she said, turning and going away.
Before this incident, I had never had much interest in Maskiri and his music because it appeared as if the big deal was on what the urban grooves does rather than his talents. But this was one story I could not just let go because of what I thought or did not think.
So we sat and Maskiri told me what happened. He said he had no idea of what had happened before the fall and afterwards.
‘It’s no big deal mudhara,’ Maskiri told me.
‘But what happened? How did you fall?’ I insisted.
Maskiri said he had gone to check on one of the girls who back him. ‘I went out on to the balcony and slipped.’
It turned out that Maskiri was not telling the truth. A visit to the flat later in the Avenues revealed that he had gone to see an elderly woman he was dating. But once there, the woman’s other lover turned up. Maskiri had no choice but to jump from the fourth floor balcony.
Eyewitnesses said Maskiri was lucky to get away with his life intact. When I went back to confront him with this information, Maskiri laughed it off.
Maskiri was born in Chitungwiza, a dormitory town about 25 km out of Harare in 1980. He grew up and there and went to schools in the town.
Then he went to Chemhanza Secondary School where he soon ran into trouble with the authorities after playing truant on several occasions.
"I still remember the day vividly. I had absconded lessons and the headmaster said he would beat me up as punishment. However, I told him that it was not possible and I actually made a mockery of his manhood and ego when I told him that murume wenyu ndiye angatondirove. (Your husband might be able to beat me)," he said talking to a male headmaster.
He was expelled and his parents had to force him to enrol at St Aidens High School in Chitungwiza but he was no longer interested.
"St Aidens was just dull. It lacked the joy I had found at other schools and I left. It was simply not interesting," he said.
His parents - Christopher and Angelista Musimbe – were highly disturbed by all this and they almost disowned him.
His mother said that when Maskiri was expelled from Chemhanza Secondary School, they were devastated.
She said, "In fact, the bad boy tag attached to him has been haunting him ever since he was at school where he became naughty, bullied other students and absconded lessons.
"In fact, he consequently quit school when he was about to sit for his ordinary level examinations opting for music.
"We were so devastated hat we told him not to come anywhere near us and so he went to Guruve (a rural area about 150km from Harare) where he stayed with his grandmother for almost a year before he came back home contrite and asking for forgiveness."
The ecstatic mother added: "Unfortunately, education was not in his blood. So we just let him have his way with music and look where he is right now. People should not confuse his public persona with his private life because now our son has reformed a great deal."
Maskiri's father also supports his son.
"While I disapprove of my son's lyrics that promote sexual immorality, I find nothing sinister and inappropriate in his song Kwedu Kuchafiwawo because it's a social commentary in which he puts a certain message across to his audience.
"Besides there is no way he could sing wishing me dead publicly because we have good relations."
Now, what can be expected from an artist whose life isn't that exemplary?
If Maskiri is emulating the American bad boy of hip hop music, Eminem real name Marshall Mathers will he survive considering that Zimbabwe is not like America where there are hundreds upon hundreds of radio stations? In any case, there is also the Internet, which Eminem uses to advertise his music.
But the likes of Maskiri do not have access to the Internet and in case they have, very few homes have personal computers. Of course, the youths can surf the Internet at any one of the many Internet cafes the high costs being charged these days inhibit them to fully use the facility.
In this case, Maskiri cannot use the Internet to sell his music.
How is he going to survive if at all he lives on music?
Maskiri on Zimvibes

Zimvibes: Briefly tell us about your music how you started and what Genre it is?Maskiri: I started way back in 2003, kuPhathood studio kwedu ku Democratic Republic of Chitungwiza. My first single to be played on radio was my debut album. I am a hip-hop artist but I am nothing like Eminem as most of you take me for. I actually distaste him- anotuka amai vake (he disses his mother)I don’t do that.
Zimvibes: Can you give us a rundown of your albums since Muviri Wese and tell us your favorite song from each.
Maskiri: After Muviri Wese there was Blue movie and then Tapinda Tapinda, Tapinda - I don’t really have ma-favourites especially on my debut, but I really liked Teguru which I did with Zelma-anogona kuimba ende Ndakafara from Tapinda Tapinda.
Zimvibes: What you say about local Showbiz scenario?
Maskiri: Yakapenga -Look I am a celeb saka I can’t say anything negative but piracy piracy yati kuvadza.
Zimvibes: Do have any videos that you shot?
Maskiri: Handina but it’s funny how people know me so well- ma-shows album covers and imi ve-media make me known. Siyabonga and handicharidzwe ridzwe futi pa-radio but iribhoo.
Zimvibes: Any upcoming project we should know about?
Maskiri: Ya album this year. I’m working ku-Face the Music in Bulawayo. It’s going to be it’s going to hotter than hot and I am considering doing videos.
Zimvibes: Who inspires your music?Maskiri: Vanhu - People and ma-healings but above all God the Creator.
Zimvibes: Where do you see yourself in five years?Maskiri: I’ll be staying paMosken (Mozambique) ndiri pa-beach nemothaz yangu. Jokes I should have a full Mp3 album by then.
Zimvibes: Any last words to your fans?Maskiri: Don’t let anyone stop you from listening to Maskillz .If they don’t play it on radio keep buying CD nema-cassettes.

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