ZIMBABWE – TOMMORROW is the last day of the year. The last 365 days had their fair share of newsmakers — those who made news for the right reasons — and the noisemakers, who graced the newspaper pages for the wrong reasons. Below we list in random order the newsmakers and noisemakers of 2012.
Senior Superstar Oliver Mtukudzi is the people’s choice for the Newsmaker of the Year. Tuku, as he is affectionately known by his legion of fans, has been a permanent fixture at nearly all the country’s high-profile events — First Gig, Tourism Night, Hifa, Winter Jazz Festival, Chibuku Road to Fame, the Tuku @60 Birthday Bash, which drew a whopping 10 000 fans to the City Sports Centre.
The Unicef Goodwill Ambassador has also raised Zimbabwe’s flag high in the United Kingdom, United States, South Africa, where he has performed to packed houses.
It is an open secret that Tuku is passionate about the arts. In his spare time he is quietly turning Pakare Paye Arts Centre into a centre of artistic excellence. Graduates of the centre include Munya Matarutse and Kazevezeve, Poda, AY Band and the Pakare Paye Arts Ensemble.
During the year, Samanyanga released Sarawoga, his 61st studio album — that’s an album for every year he has been on Mother Earth. This must surely qualify him for an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Tuku’s year was, however, marred by unfounded rumours that he was on his deathbed when he cancelled two shows earlier this month citing fatigue.
With his arch-rival Tongai “Dhewa” Moyo gone, “Extrabasso” had free reign as the King of Sungura. During the last 12 months he featured in every high-profile event ranging from the Independence Gala, Heroesplush, Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day, where he earned himself a handshake from the President, the ZRP Commissioner-General’s Funfair, the ZRP Commissioner’s Charity Horse Race, Tourism Night and the Unity Gala.
The man credited with perfecting the Borrowdale dance, before founding Razor Wire and Zora Butter, proved once more that he is a creative genius with the unveiling of yet another dance — Kochekera.
To put the icing on the cake, “Baba Sharo” released his ninth album ‘Kwatabva Mitunhu’ (Kure Kwekure) on December 5. Although it has received mixed reviews, it is proving a hit in kombis, at parties and during corporate road shows.
Born Rebecca Tsikirayi 60 years ago, in Bindura, one would never have thought that the talkshow host would dominate the airwaves in the manner she has done.
The “Oprah Winfrey of Zimbabwe”, who is on record as joking that the US talk-show host should actually be called the “Mai Chisamba of the US”,, turned 60 on October 21.
The mother of five and grandmother of two was in May this year honoured by the Professional Women Executives and Business Forum for being the Most Outstanding Woman in the Media and Gender Equity category.
Over the years, Mai Chisamba has been a recipient of various accolades, notably Communicator of the Year (2003), Best TV Woman Presenter (2007) and Best TV Presenter (2008 at the Njama Awards). In her personal capacity, Mai Chisamba is a counsellor, motivational speaker and champion of women’s empowerment.
In addition to her multiple roles, Mai Chisamba is the face of Harpic, a toilet detergent, joining South African Generations soapie star Dineo Mashaba. The talk-show host says she plans to introduce testimonies from ordinary people on her show starting next year.
The former Air Force of Zimbabwe officer has proved a worth successor to his father Chopper’s legacy. The dendera exponent’s star continues to rise as evidenced by the overwhelming turnout at his shows at home and abroad.
Sulu has had an eventful year by any standards. To start with, he was elevated to Zimbabwe music’s Big Five and as if to prove that he is no fluke, “Sudza Sudza” has joined the elite club of corporate darlings such as Tuku, Dudu Manhenga, Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana, Chiwoniso and Victor Kunonga. GreenCard Medical Aid Society endorsed Sulu this year naming him their brand ambassador for the next three years.
During the year, Sulu launched his revamped website (www.kwasulu.com) which links fans to his Facebook page and Twitter account.
On November 15, “Mwana Wedangwe” launched his fourth album, “Syllabus” amid pomp and fanfare at Jazz 105. The launch was described as one of the best by a local artiste, even glitzier than “Non-Stop”, which also caused a stir.
A year ago, any mention of the name Jah Prayzah would have been met with the response, “Jah who? Even seasoned journalists had trouble spelling his name correctly, alternating between “Jah Prayerz” and “Jah Praiza”. But all that has just changed now for the reggae crooner, born Mukudzei Mukombe, 32 years ago in Uzumba Marimba Pfungwe.
The musician, often described as Zimbabwe’s answer to Mzansi’s Lucky Dube, now rubs shoulders with the heavyweights of Zimbabwean music — Mtukudzi, Macheso and Sulumani.
“Gochi Gochi”, “Sorry Mhamha”, ‘‘Sungano Yerudo” and “Ngwarira Kuparara” have made Jah Prayzah a household name.
Having already charmed UK audiences during his maiden trip in September, the new year will see the “Ngwarira Kuparara” hitmaker spreading his wings to South Africa, Australia and Dubai.
2012 will go down in gospel music history as Fungisai’s year. Not only did she launch her ninth album, “Wenyasha Ndewenyasha”, but also graduated from the Women’s University in Africa with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology.
Away from the stage, the “Makomborero” hitmaker is a qualified dressmaker and fashion designer with her own label specialising in ethnic wear.
She also founded Vulnerable Women Development Trust, an NGO that seeks to empower the girl child. In line with the NGO’s goals she performed free for Chikurubi Maximum Prison inmates, earlier this month, where she donated groceries and sanitarywear.
Fungisai was in March this year appointed brand ambassador for the National Blood Service Zimbabwe (NBSZ), a role she shares with fellow artistes Sandra Ndebele and Blessing Shumba.
Never one to shy away from controversy, Fungisai is one of a growing number of women taking up the mbira, although this has not gone down well with some orthodox Christians.
Carl Joshua Ncube
Carl Joshua Ncube has kept Zimbabweans and much of Africa laughing ever since breaking onto the comedy scene with his debut one-man show dubbed “The Big Announcement” two years ago.
Through sheer hard work and tenacity Carl has broken into the South African comedy circuit and has featured with some of that country’s leading comedians among them Mel Miller, Dave Levinsohn and Kedibone Mulandu.
On the continent, he has rubbed shoulders with some of Africa’s biggest names such as Basketmouth, Denio Chaponda, David Kibanda, Ndumiso Lindi and Kagiso Lediba.
Despite his hectic schedule, Carl found time to tie the knot with his fiancée and manager Nelsy Mugadza in a fairy tale wedding, lasting just 27 minutes, in the Bahamas in October.
Love her or hate her, Beverly Sibanda, or simply Bev to her fans, is the new queen of the dance floor The “Talk of the Town” hardly finds time to rest as works up to six days a week on the club circuit.
During the year, she suffered a couple of setbacks, like when she was arrested along with rival Zoey Sifelani under the Censorship and Entertainment Act and later being deserted by members of her Sexy Angels.
The money is certainly rolling in for the raunchy dancer, who unveiled a Honda CRV among her latest acquisitions.
The corporate world has been quick to cash in on her growing popularity with one cigarette manufacturing company engaging her to endorse one of their brands.
The Utakataka Express frontman rose from relative obscurity to become his late father’s successor. In the last 12 months, he has done a remarkable job both on and off the stage. Though he is yet to release an album, the “Young Igwe” has proved that he is no pushover.
Away from the stage, he took over his late father’s debts and went on to complete the Mbizo house, which Dhewa had started building but could not finish due to his failing health. The young man also bought himself a BMW as he seeks to compete with counterparts, notably Sulu and Tryson Chimbetu.
It was, however, not smooth sailing for the “Young Igwe”, whose love life spilled into the tabloid pages. His temperament also came under scrutiny when he was allegedly involved in a fight with a fan during his father’s memorial show in the Harare Gardens.
The undoubted King of Dancehall continues to woo crowds, especially from the ghetto with his hard-hitting lyrics. He has also become a regular feature at national events and almost a permanent one at the Harare International Festival of Arts.
He has also shared the stage with various international acts from the likes of Nigerian twins P-Square to South African songbird Zahara, Jamaica’s Clifton George Bailey III, better known as Capleton.
Former Big Brother housemate and controversial urban groover Rockford “Roki” Josphats is no stranger to controversy and 2012 was no exception.
After a self-imposed media blackout and unreleased music, Roki’s chance to be born again came on May 6 when he qualified for the Big Brother Africa StarGame reality TV show.
He was, however, expelled from the game after just 44 days after engaging in a violent confrontation with fellow housemate Maneta Mazanhi.
While many hoped that the bed-hopping father of five “unofficial” children had turned the corner, the 27-year-old looks to have returned to his old habits.
In October, he dumped his wife (or was it live-in girlfriend?) Melody Musekiwa, who also doubles as his backing vocalist and dancer.
To rub salt into the wound, Roki went to house his two exes — Melody and Pauline Gundidza — under one roof while he moved in with friends.
While the play Roki and Maneta (The Encounter) penned by veteran playwright Stephen Chifunyise seemed to give Roki a new lease of life, his music career suffered various glitches. His South African show flopped due to poor logistics while his UK tour went ahead but without his backing band who were denied visas.
Peter Kagomera (24), the popular Orchestra Mberikwazvo dancer, is a classic example of rags to riches and back to rags story. He was fired a record four times for ill-discipline, but bounced back each time.
After being shown the door by Macheso in July for gross insurbodination, he joined Bev’s group only to be kicked out barely two months later. He has since rejoined Orchestra Mberikwazvo, but the million-dollar question is for how long?
The nimble-footed dancer has also had a brush with the law for assaulting a police officer for which he was sentenced to eight months in prison, wholly suspended on condition he performs 630 hours of community service.
The Father of Chimurenga music, who has not set foot in his homeland since 2008, stirred a hornet’s nest in mid-year when he declared that he would not perform in Zimbabwe because he did not want to take money from poor people.
This did not go down well with Zimbabweans, both at home and in the Diaspora, who accused the Chimurenga guru of being out of touch with reality.
To compound things, Mapfumo challenged flamboyant businessman Philip Chiyangwa to relocate to Hollywood to prove his wealth.
This was not the first time Mapfumo has found himself offside. In 2011 he dismissed rising dancehall king Winky D’s music as “irrelevant”.
As the year wound to a close, there was renewed talk that plans were afoot to bring the self-exiled musician home for a show.
Maneta Mazanhi was virtually unknown when she entered Big Brother house in May. Sadly, the “eye candy” did not endear herself to viewers back home for washing her dirty linen in public.
She and Roki never got on well with each from the word go. They appeared to be the proverbial oil and water that do not mix. Both were disqualified half way through the reality show after Maneta poured detergent on Roki in retaliation for pouring water on her.
Back home, Maneta Mazanhi sparked a Twitter storm after declaring she would marry for money than love.
“Money doesn’t buy you happiness but it’s better to be miserable in a ‘Lambo’ and a huge *** mansion going for shopping sprees in France”, she wrote on her Twitter account, adding: “Speaking of which I’d rather marry for money, love is overrated. Those who say money isn’t everything obviously don’t have it. Money IS everything.”
She was labelled a gold digger for her remarks.
Maneta’s elder sister, Teclar Mazanhi, was booted out of the Big Brother house after only seven days, breaking Zimbabwe’s record in the history of the reality show.
But the self-proclaimed “Princess of Zamunda” claimed her shortlived stay had more to do with technology than her own shortcomings. Nothing has been heard about her since then.
The once revered “Clown Prince” of Zimbabwean comedy seems to be slipping into oblivion. He resurfaced briefly at the Book Café as part of the Simukai Comedy run, but failed to pitch up for its run at Theatre in The Park. There was no apology, nor explanation for his absence.
He only re-emerged recently, not on stage but in the social media where he launched a scathing attack on fellow comedian and man of the moment Carl Joshua Ncube. A case of sour grapes, perhaps?
The Face of Zimbabwe winner for the month of February was forced to resign after allegations that she performed an illegal termination of a foetus. The beauty is being charged under the Burial and Cremation Act for dumping a foetus along with boyfriend Nyasha Maridadi.
According to the State case, the two went to a bush in Msasa industrial area on September 15 where they are said to have terminated the pregnancy and then set the foetus on fire.
There are two Jack Sparrows. The original Captain Jack Sparrow is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Pirates of the Caribbean film series created by screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio; portrayed by Johnny Depp.
The other is the codename for a shadowy character whose business is making pirated CDs and DVDs, subsequently prejudicing performing artistes of thousands of dollars in potential revenue.
No musician, from sungura king Alick Macheso to rising gospel star Blessing Shumba, was spared despite spirited attempts to make compact discs pirate-proof by encrypting them.
The scourge of piracy is the subject of Sulu’s “Sean Timba”, in which he declares war against pirates who are reaping where they did not sow.
Hosiah Chipanga, on the other hand, has chosen a more drastic approach — he has vowed not to release a new album until piracy is eradicated.
There seems to have been an upsurge in pornography ever since urban groover Stunner’s infamous 2011 sex tape of himself and his socialite girlfriend went viral.
There have been various such recordings during the course of the year involving students at the Midlands State University and University of Zimbabwe, not to mention high school. It would seem Kim Kardashian has quite a few followers in this part of the world!