. . .friends, promoters, workmates speak
OCTOBER 15 2011 is the day the Zimbabwean entertainment landscape was left poorer as the nation received sad news from St Anne’s Hospital.
Tongai “Dhewa” Moyo was promoted to sing with the angels on this particular day, leaving us empty, devastated.
Many broke down, wept and even fainted in shock as they struggled to come to terms with Dhewa’s departure to the other world.
The Utakataka Express founder had battled cancer but he would put on a brave face on stage.
A valiant warrior he was, Dhewa was determined to soldier own but the angels needed him most to come and compose new songs.
Since then, October 15 now has a special place to many on the national showbiz calendar.
In short, the sungura colossus left an impressive body of music to be cherished for years.
And nine years down the line, the tears are still welling down his fanatics’ cheeks.
However, we need to stop weeping and celebrate the departed legend’s achievements.
A lot has also happened afterwards ranging from family feuds, splits, reunions, internal fights, inheritance matters among other issues.
To ensure that Dhewa’s legacy remains intact, his son, closest friends, fellow musicians and promoter reckon it’s not too late to safeguard the legacy. Read on…
The ordained heir to the Utakataka Express throne said he was humbled by the support he has been receiving from fans, sponsors and corporates during the past nine years.
“I’m grateful that fans have finally embraced me as I am and not as Dhewa’s duplicate.
“It was hard to win hearts of my father’s fans and creating my own in the same process.
“What I enjoy most is that with the fans’ faith and support, I have managed to safeguard the legacy of my father,” he said.
Asked how he was going to mark the ninth anniversary of his father, Peter said:
“I will be in Sesombe tomorrow (today) where we are going to meet as a family and just reflect on the good things my father did and map a way forward.
“We have been doing this every year on the 15th of October and we won’t stop honouring him,” he said.
However, the 31-year-old conceded it was not rosy to ensure that he keeps his father’s legacy alive.
“As a person who was coming from a sporting background, it was not easy at all as it meant that I needed to be a strong.
“I’m glad we have managed to rebrand and we still continue doing that to ensure that the band lives on.
“Judging from where I was, I think the legacy of my father is in safe hands,” he said.
He also said that he was doing his best to unite his family despite an alleged fallout with his younger brother Obert Tongai Junior.
Peter is on record saying he would not beg Obert for dialogue but he won’t forsake his blood.
Once perceived as Dhewa’s fiercest rival, the Orchestra Mberikwazvo camp insists they were in good books with the late sungura icon.
“Dhewa was a creative genius who brought competition in sungura during his peak.
“It’s unfortunate that he could not live to this day but he was indeed a good person who made showbiz enjoyable.
“Up to now, he hasn’t been replaced and we don’t know how God will fill that void if in any case it’s possible,” said Macheso.
Asked what needed to be done by Dhewa’s kids to safeguard the late Utakataka Express legacy, he said:
“Unity is the key to success and those who are reviving his legacy need to work together and avoid washing dirty linen in public.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by Somandla Ndebele who applauded Dhewa for his creative edge.
“When it comes to quality sungura, then we need to talk about my late friend Tongai.
“he was a hardworking person who wanted to see people making progress.
“He brought about a lot of competition in this genre and we will certainly miss those exciting times,” he said.
Soma said they used to share deep secrets with Dhewa and he knew how to handle him when he was upset.
“Dhewa was a brave person but at time he was fragile as well as short tempered.
“He would breakdown whenever the newspaper wrote those he thought attacked his privacy.
“I had to sit down with him and enlighten him on how to be able to handle the media guys.
“When his wife died, was inconsolable to the point he felt the media was after him but we addressed it,” he said.
Asked what he learnt from Dhewa, Soma continued:
“Bravery is one of the things that I learnt and if you recall, Dhewa would get injections to boost him on stage in the last days of his life.
“He would perform in pain and some of us who were close to him know better.”
Soma also weighed in into the feud between Peter Moyo and his younger brother Obert Tongai Junior.
“As a father figure, I am not happy at all as the two boys have decided to show the world that they are not pulling in the same directions.
“Tongai was a peace-maker and these guys need to unite and shelve away their differences and safeguard the brand.
“Obert must know his place as a younger brother to Peter and Peter need to lead by example as well and whip the youngster in line.
“Of course the two haven’t approached me but I am ready to assist them and show them the way.
“If they cannot unite, its better they don’t diss each other but rather do music and see who will be a victor,” he said.
Mutare based sungura artiste and transport Brian “Eastern Igwe” Samaita who was inspired by Dhewa said the departed legend was a game-changer.
“I met Tongai Moyon through his bass guitarist Spencer Khumulani who introduced me to him.
“Dhewa took me for a brother and even blessed my musical journey and as someone who was doing the same groove, he has not problems with me following in his groove.
“We later became friends and I even took his son Obert on board and stayed with him in Mutare teaching him the ropes.
“By taking Obert on board, that was the only way I could thank Dhewa for the great work he has done for me over the years,” he said.
Like most Dhewa’s friends, Samaita is worried by the feud between Obert and his elder brother Peter.
“The infighting is really unwanted and uncalled for at a time when we are trying to safeguard the legacy of our legendary friend.
“We can’t afford to see the legacy dying just like that because of attention seeking people,” he said.
Not to be outdone was Suluman Chimbetu who shared stage with Dhewa when he held his last show.
“When I shared the stage with Dhewa in what became his last show, Tongai didn’t understand me and vice versa.
“We later clicked and he would tell me to look after his son Peter because he was still knew in showbiz considering his background as a footballer,” he said.
Sulu said he learnt creative and branding from Dhewa.
“Dhewa was unpredictable on stage and we made one of the finest combinations yaitora mari pa town but at the same time people got real value for his fans.
“It’s unfortunate that when he died, we wanted to record a song together but we could not continue after Dhewa died.
“I will always remember him as a person and artiste who left hind a legacy to cherished for years,” he said.
Kadoma based businessman, promoter and Tongai Moyo’s family friend said they have a responsibility to play.
He told H-Metro that they will be visiting Dhewa’s rural home today as had become the norm.
“On Thursday we are driving to Kwekwe where we are going to visit Chihera and family.
“I would have wanted Obert to be the so that I sit down with, Peter and family elders so that we whip them in line.
“As a father figure playing that role, I now take it upon myself to ensure that I bring the boys together.
“We don’t want them to fight in public for prominence but rather they need to focus on their careers,” he said.
Music promoter, corporate lawyer and musician Panganayi Hare who worked with Dhewa as a promoter still misses the late music icon.
In a mini statement, he wrote:
“Today (October 15) marks the 9th anniversary of the death of the late great Tongai Dhewa Moyo.
Father Flower, Murozvi Mukuru, Mopao Mokonzi….mazita aiita kupfekerana.
I got to know and be acquainted to Dhewa or Tongishto as we called him in the turn of the millennium. I was a music promoter then.
We had numerous successful shows with Tongai especially in places like Gweru, Bulawayo, Beitbridge and Victoria Falls to name a few.
What l liked most about Tongai is the fact that he was very professional and time conscious.
Tongai’s sound was very intact and superb. Kuma live show ake zvaibuda sezvazviri pa CD. And he had a towering stage presence.
Whether people like it or not Dhewa revolutionised and changed the face of sungura music. He was smart on and off the stage and his band was also always immaculately dressed. He gave the then undisputed king of sungura music Alick Macheso a run for his money especially after the release of the monster hit albums Naye and Pinda Panyanga.
Competition between the two greats became so massive and any show pitting these two then the promoter was assured of smiling all the way to the bank. To me Sungura music lost part of it’s soul when Tongai died. Sungura has never been the same.
My all-time favorite songs from Tongai are Zvinoita Murudo and Funga Kaviri.
I vividly remember his text message asking me to visit him at St Anne’s Hospital…..you could see the giant was in pain but he was in pain. I was never to see him alive again.
Forever continue to rest in peace Tongshto. Your legacy is intact. Your music continues to inspire me up to now. Forever missed.
Similar sentiment were shared by music promoter who described Dhewa as an irreplaceable figure.
“Life without Muchina Muhombe has been very tough, the gap he left is very difficult to fill. I can only sum it up by saying, no man of his character will I ever find in this world. Dhewa rest in peace,” he said.
Not to be outdone is Congolese chanter Gift “Shiga-Shiga” Katulika who salulated the late Dhewa.
“Dhewa taught me a lot of things and some of them would need a day to share with the world.
“I just hope his children would learnt one or a thing because we lost a hero who was determined to put sungura on another level.
“In fact, it was Dhewa who changed sungura music and up to now he hasn’t been replaced,” he said.
Sungura prince First Farai who was weaned off by Dhewa hasd this to say:
“The industry will never be the same without him. Yes, he was promoted to glory but hey, it happened so early.
“He was a friend brother and father to me. l will miss him forever. Nevertheless hatirase musambo tiri kumhanya nawo., dai aramba achitarira mhuri dzaakasiya,” he said.
South Africa based Utakataka Express founder member and family friend Ronnie Mudhindo said his mentor was heaven sent.
“I will always remember him since he is my the one who made me an icon I am today so October 15 will always mean a lot to me.
“To his family, we are praying for unite so that the departed legend won’t turn in his grace since he loved peace,” he said