There is a township lingo that says munhu anofira mutulayi. This is true for Wilson Mbale of the Four Seasons band that has been hanging on out there for decades now. Mbale known as Mudhara Widza does not give up such that he walks, sometimes from Chitungwiza to the city to play at Livewire.
He became my regular visitor at the Herald after I had interviewed him (see story below) in 2006. Either it was about the group’s forthcoming album or about bus fare. – Wonder Guchu
For some, the musical journey is a short walk into fame and wealth, but for others it is a lifetime journey while success is not so much because one is capable, but out of chance.
It is more than 30 years now since Wilson Mbale started the long walk towards musical success and fame.
Having grown up in Highfield when the Harare Mambos, Baked Beans, New Tutenkhamen, Eye Q, Pied Pipers and the Modernaires from Mabvuku were every musical youth’s idols, Mbale, who is popularly known as Widza (from his first name Wilson), set his eyes at becoming a star.
Together with his friends – Freddie Chimupeni, Charles Khumalo and Fatty Phiri – with whom he had learnt playing musical instruments at the Boys’ Club at Nenyere Hostels in Mbare, Widza founded Double Shuffle, the group that released I’m a Lady way back in 1977.
This single and the subsequent ones – Taj Mahal and Carol that was written by Steve Makoni when he was still a student – won Double Shuffle Quick Silver Gold discs.
“We started in Mbare and then relocated to Rusape in 1972 when we heard that the owner of the Crocodile Motel wanted a resident band.
“Playing rock and roll, we stayed in the town for seven years before the war sent us back to Harare. When we returned to Harare, the group disbanded,” said Widza.
Together with Mike Banda, Albert Shoniwa, Albert Luwizhu and Regis Chikupo, Widza formed the Zimbabwe Heroes,” he explains.
From this group came singles such as SaMtoko, Taitamba Chisveru, Self-Job and Georgette Yangu.
Widz spent another seven years with this group before joining The Seasons after the other members had all died.
The Seasons he joined in 1989 had Patrick Mukwamba, Lazarus Khumalo (Sekuru Hozhwa), Noah Langa, Andrew Chikwanha, Robson Nyanzira and Sam Nheta.
This was the lineup that worked on Mukwamba’s Shamwari Tenga Gumbeze, Sekuru Hozhwa’s Ganda Mapfumo, Chiropa Chesvosve and Lacy.
And again death visited the group and took away Sekuru Hozhwa and others, leaving Chikwanha and Widza who had to incorporate Khumalo and another guy who were former Double Shuffle members.
The group was then renamed the Four Seasons and won successive contracts to play at the then Tereskane Hotel (now Bira), the defunct George Hotel in Avondale and the then Job's Nightspot (now Livewire).
The Four Seasons released albums that include Take Me to Paradise, Mudzonga and Elina.
They are on the verge of releasing two albums - one in Shona, Nhorowondo, and another yet to be titled in Ndebele.
"Some of our albums released in the 90s did not do that well. As a result, we had to do the club circuit in order to survive.
"However, with the upcoming albums we hope to make a breakthrough," said Widza, who is a regular at Livewire today.
But for the albums to be released in June, Widza is appealing for help from well-wishers.