Tuesday, 15 November 2011
He-e Tazvida Wezhira irombe
The Growth Point Music maker who made it big and broke into the hearts of the urban dweller
There are, mostly probably, two known Zimbabwean musicians who made a name from ridiculing themselves and their humorous approach to social issues.
There was Kenneth Chigodora of Sisi Dori fame and then System Tazvida. Both are late.
Although I met Chigodora in his last days and tried to prop him back into the business, I never met System but I met his brother Peter and Isaac. I have also met Lee Roy Kamusena Lunga who had a long-drawn battle for control of the band after Peter’s death in 2002.
I met Peter when they launched their album Rimi Remoto at the National Sports Stadium where the late Tsitsi Mawarire and Eric Knight were Emcees in 1999 after System’s death.
I spent a weekend with Isaac in Shamva when he performed at a bar there and he visited me on several occasions.
Like I said, System made his name by being himself. He tapped into his rural background and made music for his type of people. And that music was later embraced by those who saw themselves as being living outside System’s world.
By making music for the previously uncatered for, System created a very active market. Calling himself Rombe, System managed to break through urban barriers.
His first hit Mabhauwa where he was backed by the Khiama Boys that had Alick Macheso in the line-up was received by all. Also in the line-up were Tineyi Chikupo, Cephas Karushanga, Nicholas Zakaria, Ephraim Joe and Sailas Chakanyuka.
The song, Mabhauwa was written by Cephas Karushanga and given to System to sing. Later Karushanga and System left Khiama Boys to form Mabhauwa Express hoping to cash on the success of the song. But System did not last long with Karushanga when he left to join the Sungura Boys before setting up his band, Chazezesa Challengers in 1993, with the help of Peter who was playing with Nyami Nyami Sounds; Lunga from the Super Sounds and Kasongo Band; Lucky Mumiriki of Hurungwe Sounds and the Sungura Boys.
With Chazezesa Challengers, System who was born Fanuel Nyasha Tazvida in 1968 in Zaka became the voice of the voiceless while his mates nicknamed him System the microphone wizard.
The group’s debut seven single Vaforomani spoke about bad leadership and what power does to people. Accompanied with a humorous video, the song peaked high on the charts thereby launching System’s career.
System had a very humble beginning in the music industry when one day he chanced upon the Spiders during their show. They asked him if he could sing and he told that he was a reggae artist. They then gave him a chance to sing and he did much to delight of the fans. That launched his career which saw him churning one album per year.
All his albums had songs which taught but without rebuking. Rudo, Tsika Nemagariro (93); Rwendo Rweupenyu (94); Mutunhu Une Mago (95); Wadenha Mago (96); Wazosvorwa (97); and Huni Nyoro Mumoto (98) spoke about life.
Although most people tried to distance themselves from System’s music, they hopped back because he offered them another window through which they looked and laughed at themselves.
In the history of Zimbabwean music, System is also one of those who were organised. His band members were well catered for and he kept a happy intact group throughout his career.
But problems came when he died and then Peter too died leaving Isaac to take over.
Although Isaac was not a band member, he muscled his way in. I covered the row between Isaac and Lee Roy over the leadership of the band. In the end, Lee Roy had to leave and form his own group, Boyz DzeSena while Isaac struggled with Chazezesa.
One day I ran into him in Shamva when he was playing alongside Hosiah Chipanga at Shamva Bar. Although Isaac says that he helped System to put the band together and funded his brother, he does not have music in his veins.
Maybe he is unfortunate that his brothers who preceded him set a high standard which he can’t beat. Apart from delivery, Isaac has problems in management. At one time, I wrote about him losing instruments to a record company after failing to pay.