OVER the past decade, Lovemore Majaivana’s music has been notably distinct enough to stand the test of time.
His music has refused to be overshadowed by South African music which has become the favourite for many in Bulawayo — and that makes the man’s craft iconic to a point where talking of the city’s music industry will not be complete without mentioning his name.
He fell in the same league with the likes of iconic and internationally acclaimed Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi and Thomas Mapfumo.
Like so many other legends, Majee, as he was known, started performing as far back as the 70’s and his music won the hearts of many people who still yearn to see him perform and display his dance antics on stage.
Over the years, there have been cries – passionate pleas for the legendary Majaivana to come back from his USA self-imposed exile base to come and churn out more music for his fans.
Unfortunately, the pleas seem to be falling on deaf ears as Majaivana has seemingly turned his back on the music industry despite the fact that he is still talented and loved by his legion of followers.
His fans, especially those from Bulawayo created a Facebook page three years ago, called “Petition to get Lovemore out of retirement”. The page has since generated interest from the Facebook community that strongly followed his music.
Majaivana has, however, been silent and has never responded to the plea from his fans who continuously call for his comeback. He has ignored not only the petition but his family as well and his son Randal who is still attempting to follow in his father’s footsteps.
His son believes that even though there is a serious plea from his fans based in Bulawayo they had long rejected Majaivana’s music as he ended up building his career from Harare.
“It is common knowledge that people from Bulawayo rejected his music that is why he had to build his career from Harare. So in as much as there is a plea for him to perform he will not respond because he probably has a sense of rejection.
“Bulawayo was big enough for him to build a career, but there was not much support for him locally,” said Randal. He added that his father had also exiled himself from his family.
Although following his father’s footsteps is yet to bear fruit Randal said he was trying to market himself so that his music could be known in Bulawayo, something that would preserve the Majaivana legacy.
He, however, dismissed that he was attempting to ride on his father’s fame saying people should be slow to judge him as he was still a beginner and was working to create a name for himself.
“People should not accuse me of trying to emulate my father. I have always loved music and it is something that I have always wanted to take up. I am still a beginner and I have not fully marketed myself. People haven’t had the opportunity to really listen to my music, and my father’s shoes are probably too big and hard to fill now.
“I have to work very hard to raise funds and penetrate the market. But I cannot say that I can fill my father’s shoes and be his replacement. My father has been silent for years and does not even communicate with the family that he left behind,” he said.
Commenting on the issue, popular poet and board member for Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA) Albert Nyathi, who is also a close friend of Majaivana, said people of Bulawayo should not shun local content. He highlighted that this could be the reason why Majaivana was tight lipped on coming to stage a show in Zimbabwe as he was not given much support by his people during the peak of his musical career.
Nyathi launched scathing attacks on the “iGoli syndrome” that has hit many people in Bulawayo as they gave more prominence to South African music, leaving their own musicians in limbo.
“People of Bulawayo were never really supportive when he was still building his career. These were the critical stages and he needed support from his fellowmen who rejected him and he went on to build a fan base in Harare. He would sing pure traditional Ndebele music and at one time became bigger than household names in Harare like Thomas Mapfumo.
“It is so sad that most of our people prefer to follow South African music, leaving our very own musicians not being supported. I think that is why he is tight lipped on that, and he has not yet responded to the petition that was written by Bulawayo fans some years back,” he said.
Although the call to try and get him back to the country is seemingly about to tire, Nyathi said Majaivana was living well and wanted to live his private life – hinting that he would come and perform when the time comes.
“Majaivana is well and is running a business in the United States. At the moment he wants to live his private life. All I know is that he will respond to the calls of his Bulawayo fans soon and he will be coming to perform in the city. People must be patient,” he said.
Because of his baritone voice and his excellent choreography on stage, a lot of musicians became interested in working with Majaivana and he had stints at places such as Honde Valley Hotel and Marisha Nightclub where Lovemore became a hero.
Memorable tracks include “Okwabanye” (some people only take but never give), “Mama Ngivulele” (Mother please give me your blessing) “Istimela” (a lover blaming the train for going with his girlfriend, “Ukhozi” (the hawk taking away a child) and “Salanini Zinini” (farewell all my relatives).