This blog captures the moments I had with Zimbabwean musicians between 2003 and 2007. I have also included interviews done by other arts and culture journalists over the years.
Thursday, 16 February 2012
Daiton the madder one of Pengaudzoke
Unlike the Chimbetus - Simon and Naison - who were never sworn enemies,the Somanjes - Josphat and Daiton - despite being bloody brothers, live in two different worlds not only in management styles but also as a family. They don't, without the help of other people, see eye-to-eye.They compete with each other and hold their grudge longer than necessary despite Daiton's brazen act of snatching away pengaudzoke from his younger brother Josphat and leaving him into the dumps. But considering all the situations, one can conclude that Daiton is the madder one of the Pengaudzoke.
There is a mistaken belief that Daiton Somanje formed Pengaudzoke together with his brother Josphat. The truth is that Daiton came to join the band long after Josphat had set it off the ground in the Beatrice farming area.
Daiton came as a dancer and at the time (I don’t know now) he could not play any musical instrument.
Apart from putting together the group, Josphat had a great vision for the group which Daiton never had. It was this misunderstanding and lack of vision on the part of his elder brother Daiton and some of the group members that led to their split in December 2002.
Just like in the Bhundu Boys where Rise Kagona took a back seat and let the late Biggie Tembo play the lead role, a reserved Josphat did the same.
The Somanjes also went the Chimbetus way when talk of juju took centre stage. But unlike the Chimbetus where juju use was more of a rumuor, the Somanjes made it an open secret. In fact, Daiton blamed Josphat of bewitching his wife and driving the band’s truck to Zambia where he got the juju.
What Daiton did was wrestle the band from his brother. Once again unlike in the case of the Chimbetus, who could claim ownership of the Marxist Brothers, Daiton had no right to but Josphat left because he had so much confidence in himself to pull off another successful group.
Indeed in 2003, he formed the Somanje Stars and became an album per year musician.
Of course, since people still had so much faith in Daiton who took over the name of the band, Josphat’s music did not rise above the water.
Even Daiton’s success without Josphat could be measured by the teaspoon. Both brothers suffered without the other unlike the Chimbetus where Simon rose above Naison.
What made Josphat’s situation worse was the fact that he left empty handed and had to start from scratch. With the current situation of the music industry in Zimbabwe, time hit him hard.
He was arrested on allegations of raping a minor. He got TB and his band members deserted him to join Daiton.
It took Josphat about 10 years to stage a return with his This Time which also brought him media frenzy bigger than the album itself.
Josphat formed the group while he was working in the Beatrice farms in 1985. At the time, there was Lawrence Samaita Kamupira, Rangarirai Kenge Mpombera, Clever Somanje, Laison and Marefura Ngowela and Lameck Fadwick.
Pengaudzoke was founded by the soft spoken Josphat in 1985 at a farm in the Beatrice area. They released their debut single Chinhu Chevaridzi in 1988 and the flip side had Vanhu Vandawile (People are having problems) which were both written by Daiton. Then in 1989, they had another single, Tezvara Revai Pfuma. In 1990, they made a major breakthrough by releasing their debut eight track album Kwatakabva Kure Nenhamo that featured the hit tracks Munonditaura and Famba Mwana.
It was during this period when Rangarirai Mupombera and Tinarwo Chandavengerwa, cousins to the Somanjes, joined Pengaudzoke.
However when things were becoming bright a disagreement swept across the group.
In a telephone interview I did with Josphat in 2005, the group’s troubles started in 1993 when they were paid Z$27 000 in royalties.
‘I bought a car for Z$15 000 and put aside Z$5 500 for maintenance. We then shared the remaining Z$2 000,’ he told me.
He was the only one in the group whop could drive and this did not go down well with others who wanted the money to be shared.
‘Daiton and others were not happy with what I had done. They wanted us to share the money so that they could buy clothes. I spoke to Daiton and convinced him that we still had a bright future and it stopped him from leaving,’ he said.
The Ngowela Brothers indeed left in 1993 to form their own band, the Twin Brothers while Clever, Mpombera, Rangarirai and Tinarwo formed the Five Penga Penga.
When others left, the brothers started to put a new group together with Lawrence Kamupira, Farai and Musafare Chakwingwa and a female dancer. With this group, they released Ndegandega in 1994 and Zvogondipei in 1995.
They released two other albums – Titonganisei and Zvibate Pamhaka afterwards, ‘I wrote Titonganise with our situation in mind. It was a plea for help,’ Josphat said.
Another album, Mandivavarira, came in 1998 before Sakunatsa Ndiye Sakubayiwa (1999). Their big break came in 2002 with Ndokudai Mose that carried the hit song Tsaona.
Ironically, the success of this album was to be the breaking point.
Josphat used the group’s car to ferry his sick mother-in-law to Malawi when Daiton’s wife was ill and there was talk about juju in the family.
Daiton accused Josphat of bewitching his wife. There was alos disagreement over the vehicle.
‘I just decided to leave Daiton and Pengaudzoke in order to form my own Somanje Stars with new people I had recruited. There was Douglas Akim, Brighton Kerias, Wilson Meka and Gibson Lameck,’ he said.
At the time I spoke to Josphat, August 2005, Daiton had snatched most of these musicians from his younger brother. Josphat’s life was in tatters.
‘Meka akaenda kwaDaiton. Mashows angu haabhadhare saka Vanhu vari kutiza Nzara,’ he told me tearfully.
At the time, Josphat was an angry man after realising that Gramma Records had used the name Pengaudzoke to market Daiton when they had a stand-off over the album Nhengure. Daiton was claiming the album which Gramma titled Nhngure while Josphat’s recording company, the now defunct RTP also had the album and were marketing it.
‘That album should not have been called Nhengure but Inguva Chete but those at Gramma thought otherwise.’
There have been quite some swings of fortunes for both brothers. At the time Josphat made his big return, Daiton’s fortunes were on the wane.
There has been talk about their reunion over the years. Indeed, the two have staged shows together and featured on each other’s albums but according to Daiton, such a thing is a pipe dream.
In fact, Last Power Media had brought in Josphat to help prop up Daiton o Zvisinei Hazvo. Josphat demanded US$1000 but the company agreed on US$700.
‘There is no reunion. In fact, we were cheating the nation. Let people not think that all is now fine between us. The truth is Josphat demanded US$1 000 for featuring on the album but he was only given US$700.
‘It was not my idea but my record company thought it was wise for the two of us to come together to resuscitate my waning music career. Yes we held shows here and there after the album but it is not working. The relationship failed to work a long time ago and it will never work,’ he told the media.
By the look of things, Daiton is the notorious one. He has no direction as shown by his careless handling of money he earned from Tsaona. He bought cars but today he has nothing left.
‘I sold all the vehicles and one is now rotten at a police camp after failing to redeem it because of financial problems. There is also a kombi in Marondera but it’s stuck in the yard,’ he revealed in an interview with the media in 2011.
Apart from antagonising his younger brother, Daiton has also turned onto his son, Faheem who leads his own outfit, Tokudai Mose. He blames him for his misfortune and embarrassingly for sleeping with his step-mother, Annah Kezias.
He has also told the media that his family hates him.
‘It all started in 2009 when I got sick. I strived with my condition for a while trying to fend for my family but all hell broke loose when my family turned against me. I was diagnosed with TB. My wife then, Annah Kezias, started abusing me physically, emotionally and verbally. I even told my son, Faheem, about it but he too started abusing me. I had nowhere to turn to and I approached my friend Esther Musango who stays in Dzivarasekwa. Esther sympathised with me and came to my rescue. We started living together in Dzivarasekwa while taking good care of me and she is now my “wife”. I am not going back to Marondera because there is no love there,’ he said.
Of Faheem, he said, ‘He is no longer my son and I mean it. Have you ever heard of a son who befriends his father’s friends or enemies? Faheem teamed up with my former band members who fed him with horrible information about me.
‘They influenced him to go against me and you can’t believe it.
Now he is telling the media that I am jealous of his success. What kind of father am I to be jealous of his own blood’s success? What has Faheem done so far that makes him think he is successful? I want him to be positive and behave like a son who respects his father.’
Because of this, Daiton sought an eviction order against his wife and son.
‘They pushed me that far. It doesn’t mean I am not a caring father but they have forced me to develop a hard heart because there is no mutual understanding and respect between me and my family. We are treating each other like enemies. But they can’t drive me out of my house and it is the reason I decided to take legal action by applying for an eviction order. For your own information, I sold the house already and am just waiting for these court cases to come to an end,’ he vowed.
Faheem shot back, ‘I don’t know why my father is doing all this to me to the extent of accusing me of bedding his wife. I am married and we get on well with her and we have been helping each other when he moved in with his Dzivaresekwa girlfriend.
‘He even chased away some of his band members accusing them of having an affair with his wife and now he blames me.
‘He is jealous because he knows I am excelling in my music career and I am gaining a lot of popularity in Mashonaland East Province while he knows he is losing popularity musically.
‘I haven’t released yet, but judging from crowds that throng my live shows I am now far better than him.
‘Moreover, my father is accusing me of stealing goods from my own community. Because of all these accusations, everywhere I go people are asking me why I am in love with my father’s wife.’