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Baba Harare, Muridzo woo ChiTown revellers – NewsDay

BY TAPFUMANEI MUCHABAIWA/NOMALANGA KABANZI

CHITUNGWIZA was on fire on Sunday when Baba Harare and Andy Muridzo gave sterling performances at Tanza Nite Club.

Fans were sent into frenzy when Baba Harare took to the stage and played tracks such as Use English, The Reason Why, Wemberi Wemberi, Stumbo and Ndirikuspakwa Amana.

The lanky musician instinctively pulled the crowd to the dance floor with his jiti-flavoured beat while he displayed guitar strumming excellence.

Baba Keketso, as Andy Muridzo is affectionately known, did not disappoint, mesmerising fans with his poetic prowess and microphone wizadry.

He played songs such as Nhekwe, Mai Mwana, Binocular and Merenziana, among others.

His performance was cut short due to COVID-19 regulations.

“This was a thriller I tell you, the guys are still with their flavour.

“I thought COVID-19 had taken away the taste of their music but today I witnessed that they are even going upwards,” said Alexio Meda, a fan.

The duo last held a combined show in Mabvuku. City Vibration band manager Gift Petro, a former manager at Muridzo’s Jitasi Band, said they were enjoying working with Baba Keketso.

Petro promised Baba Harare’s fans that 2022 would be loaded with both local and international collaborations.

“We are promising our fans that there will be real vibration from Baba Harare this year.

“We also want to thank our fans for braving the rains that disturbed our show but still they came in great numbers,” Petro said.

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Netflix commits $1 million to back SADC's young film-making talent – New Zimbabwe.com

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By Agencies

STREAMING GIANT Netflix has pledged to support film and TV students in Africa with a $1 million fund.

The Netflix Creative Equity Scholarship Fund will cover the tuition, housing and living expenses of  selected students who have been accepted onto television and film courses this academic year.

The fund is part of Netflix’s Creative Equity Fund which will, over the next five years, fund organisations with a proven track record of preparing people from underrepresented communities for success in the television and film industries.

Potential

Ben Amadasun, Netflix Director of Content in Africa said: “Netflix is excited by the potential of the next generation of storytellers and we’re committed to investing in the future of African storytelling in the long-term.

“We believe there are great stories to be told from Africa and we want to play our part by supporting students who are passionate about the film and TV industry so they too, can ultimately contribute to the creative ecosystem by bringing more unique voices and diverse perspectives to African storytelling that our global audiences find appealing.”

An open call for applications from students in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, which includes Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique among others will be held shortly. It is being organised in partnership with fund management and advisory firm Tshikululu Social Investments.

The move marks the latest step in Netflix’s efforts to gain a share of the continent’s largely untapped video-on-demand (VoD) market.

Research shows that African TV markets are set to grow. A 2019 report from Research & Markets said Sub-Saharan Africa was the world’s fastest-growing TV market.

Africa, with its population of more than 1 billion people and where internet access has increased by almost 25 per cent in less than 10 years, provides a clear attraction to investors experts say.

Investment

Recent years have seen other film and music streaming giants such as Apple, Warner Music and Universal Music also try and get a foothold in the African market, setting up offices and, like Netflix, investing in local talent.

Netflix premiered its first African production, critically acclaimed crime thriller Queen Sono, in February 2020 as part of its Africa Originals studio. This was quickly followed up with the announcement of other projects In Nigeria.

However African-owned streaming services are fighting back.

South African providers lead the continent in terms of TV and video consumption. Their market dominance is based on entertainment and sports rights, as well as unique packages such as satellite service bundles. Other African providers, such as Nigeria’s IROKOTV, are local platforms that stream popular local content.

In a recent interview with ScreenAfrica, Kenyan Film and TV entrepreneur Dorothy Ghettuba who heads African Originals at Netflix said: “We want to tell amazing stories tailored to different languages, different tastes, and different moods. The intention is to showcase African talent not only to African audiences but to the rest of the world.

“We believe that more people should see their lives reflected on screen which is why we want to tell African stories to other Africans and to people around the world.”

But some observers say there are significant obstacles to this goal. They point to underdeveloped cable internet networks and the high cost of mobile data. Concerns have also been raised concerning the cost of video streaming services. Despite its billion-strong population, the continent only has 2.7 million VoD customers.

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Thandi Draai releases new compilation album, ‘Africa Gets Physical Vol.4’ – Mixmag

Producer, vocalist and singer Thandi Draai has released a compilation album via Get Physical Music.

Entitled ‘Africa Gets Physical Vol. 4’, the compilation consists of 17 tracks – opening with a tribal house spinner from Thakzin feat. Kitty Amor, ‘Khoisan’, packed with hefty kicks to set a deep groove.

Others featured in the album alongside Draai herself include Dawgpound, Drega and Amos Blaq.

Read this next: 17 women shaping African dance and electronic music

“What a time for Afro Tech House,” Draai ponders. “It’s alive and vibrating through the whole universe. I am super honoured to be compiling this year’s ‘Africa Gets Physical Vol 4’. Growing up with my music obsession, I used to buy compilations and vibe to the great selections: now it’s my turn, and all I can say is I’m unapologetic about our African electronic music. We went in hard on this one!”

“I sourced, and collaborated with some of the best Afro Tech musicians from all around Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and South Africa to name a few. This compilation is rich in African percussion, vocals and rhythms to keep you going. It has been an intense intimate project – including sleepless nights, sleeping on studio floors, you name it, to bring the very best Afro House Vibes. There is something African for everyone to enjoy in this compilation: we added our colourful culture, intense spirituality in the music and various rhythms. This is just a taste of our African Dance Music.”

Read this next: Apple Music launches platform for African dance music, Isgubhu

Draai has already released music on Get Physical, via her ‘Jika’ EP, as well as various collaborative singles from this album with DJ Beekay and Candy Man.

Having already put together a mix showcasing women shaping African dance music for Mixmag, Draai has appeared on MistaJam’s Africa Week and currently holds a residency on Ukhozi FM’s Bhampa2Bhampa show – the leading radio station in Africa.

You can access the album digitally now. Check it here.

Tracklist –

01. Thakzin feat. Kitty Amor – Khoisan

02. Dawgpound – Egypt

03. Un_nown & Zikhona – Sikelela

04. Drega & Maline Aura – Mama Dear

05. Suffocate SA & Miči – Free Now

06. Thandi Draai – Iris (Atmos Blaq Remix)

07. Saint Evo – Tuhan

08. Thandi Draai & Candy Man- Out Of Africa

09. DJ Beekay & Thandi Draai – Linda

10. Kasango & Deep Narratives feat. Lizwi – Ngenani

11. Shona SA & Sazi Cele – Sekukude

12. Silvva – Jumanji

13. Khensy & Cuebur – Huwelelani

14. Afro Brotherz feat. Pixie & Lucky Keys – Amathuba

15. Thandi Draai – Jika (DJ Clock Remix)

16. BlaQRhythm – In The Jungle

17. Eltonnick & G-Wash10 feat. T_Phoenix – Osiris

Niamh Ingram is Mixmag’s Weekend Editor, follow her on Twitter

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Music doyen Zex Manatsa, a hero in his own accord – Chronicle

The Chronicle

Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Reporter
WHATEVER he touched turned to gold, whatever he sang became a hit, whoever he groomed listened, whatever he desired he achieved, and wherever he stepped on, he left a mark.

That’s the tale of Zex Manatsa.

When he first touched the guitar in 1974, he formed the Green Arrows that was to sell out copies.

When he sang Tea Hobvu, the African continent shook. When he groomed the likes of James Chimombe and Simon Chimbetu, they matured like fine wine.

When he agreed to his music promoter Jack Janga hosting his wedding at Rufaro Stadium on 25 August 1979, he filled it to the brim, causing a rally in the then Salisbury by Bishop Abel Muzorewa who was then Prime Minister to flop.

When he campaigned for Zanu PF, he was a marked man for the Ian Smith regime but achieved to ensure the country was liberated from Western colonisation.

In his own accord and to followers of his music and congregants he led, the talented contemporary musician and bass guitarist will always be a hero who sadly lost a battlle against cancer.

A dreadful Thursday afternoon is how many will forever remember January 20, 2022, as the nation was plunged into mourning.

In every mourning moment, whether having mingled with the person physically, emotionally, or telephonic, vivid memories will appear in one’s imagination.

Saturday Leisure caught up with a number of arts gurus who gave a glimpse of their relationships with Zex who died at the age of 78.

All concurred that a national hero status would be most befitting for the man who holds the Zimbabwean record of the most attended wedding that had a stadium packed with 50 000 people when he wedded his long-time sweetheart, Stella in 1979.

Fred Zindi, a legendary music analyst gave a glimpse of the life of Zex.

“At the age of 10 is when I met Zex Manatsa.

He was singing with the band called the Green Arrows and I was playing the guitar.

I approached him and his brother, Stanley who was playing the lead guitar and told them that I wanted to join their band.

“He had some very interesting songs including the popular Chipo Chiroorwa which I fell in love with,” Zindi recounted.

He said it was unfortunate he was not able to work with the group as he later went overseas.

“I left for the UK and started a band of my own.

Chipo Chiroorwa is the song that we always opened with and it was a favourite for many Zimbabweans.

I was very shocked to learn of Zex’s death because we were working on him getting an Honorary Degree with the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) but didn’t manage to go through because of the process it undergoes.”

Zindi said all hope is not lost as the legendary musician is set to get an honorary award from the Zimbabwe Music Awards.

Recalling one of their best moments together, Zindi said: “Recently, Zex Manatsa paid me a visit at UZ and he sat down and said ‘ndoda tea hobvu mfana’ and I thought it was a joke and told him the price of sugar and milk had skyrocketed, even ‘chingwa chine margarine ndechababa.’

“That’s how we opened up the meeting with that joke and I’ll forever cherish the moment,” said Zindi, referring to an old Manatsa hit in which he sings about good tea and bread with margarine.

Zindi said Zex was a legend.

“Back in 1979 where Zex, Oliver Mtukudzi, Lovemore Majaivana were the biggest stars, I remember when Zex made history when he married his long-time partner Stella.

His music promoter had a brilliant idea and exploited Zex’s popularity to make money out of it.

The wedding had posters all over, written Wedding of The Year and it was on 25 August, 1979. Fans were charged an entry fee of a dollar to celebrate the day.

“The first to take to the stage was Thomas Mapfumo who played his popular tune, Rolled Africa with Tendai Chikupa starting off with Sylvia.

“I remember Bishop Abel Muzorewa was the Prime Minister at the time and was campaigning for the forthcoming elections but he made the mistake of organising a political rally on the same day with the Daily Mail having a screaming headline that said Zex Manatsa’s wedding spoils Muzorewa’s rally,” said Zindi.

Also rocking the airwaves in the 70s was Ebba Chitambo who was one of the artistes behind Watch out, a song that was an instant hit. He said his music career was influenced by Zex.

“I knew Zex well when they were based in Bulawayo before relocating to Harare.

We used to watch them practise at Pelandaba and they were popular in the township for amarabi.

“They were a big influence in me taking up music because when I started playing, Zex treated me like a brother.

I remember him giving me his brand new Alpha Romeo for the weekend and I last saw him when he stayed in Nketa where I helped him with some equipment so he could hold shows,” said Chitambo while passing his condolences to the family.

Arts guru Cont Mhlanga said: “I only met him later in life when I directed the first Zimbabwe Music Awards events in Harare.

I only worked with him when I directed those ceremonies when he came to collect his awards.

“He was a wonderful sociable communicator.

He generated authority across the room even if he was sitting quietly on a chair far away. Mr Manatsa had a very powerful presence.

FROM LEFT: Fred Zindi, Stella Manatsa, Zex Manatsa and Freedom Manatsa

“Although I was yet to join arts, I knew that he was a regular in the music scene of Bulawayo during the heydays of the Happy Valley Hotel in Nguboyenja when it was still the prime music venue of the time.

Our home is just opposite the hotel so we got to know all these music giants early on in life.”

Artistic director Daves Guzha said: “One Wednesday early morning, 5am to be exact, in November, 10 days before the Zimbabwe Music Awards ceremony of 2006 that was to be held at Meikles Hotel, Oliver Mtukudzi called and said I am at your gate.

A few months before, we as Rooftop Promotions had been approached by Joseph Nyadzayo (Zima’s founder) to take over the proceedings of that year.

“Naturally I saw it as an opportunity to rekindle my long relationship with the gifted Cont Mhlanga as director and myself as producer.

I digress, it turned out my guest had a specific request.

In between him having tea with bread with sun jam, he laid bare the reason for such an intrusion on my sleep.

‘I wouldn’t be where I am had it not been for Zex Manatsa.

He contributed a lot to who I am in my formative years.

As such, I’d like to support a new category which I’ll sponsor myself called Cheuka Shure/Bheka Emva within Zima.’

“And so it was.

For the first time at an awards ceremony in Zimbabwe, we witnessed the selflessness of one artist acknowledging the other.

True to our thinking ‘Zvikomo zvinopanana mhute’ (a proverb that means ‘cooperation leads to success’) makes became real before our eyes on the night of the awards.”

If not for the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, a send-off at the Rufaro Stadium surely would have been a befitting ceremony.

As a musician who played a very pivotal role in the attainment of the country’s independence, national hero status could be a deserved honour for Manatsa.

For his contribution in the arts sector and beyond, as Chronicle Showbiz we pay our condolences to the family of Manatsa, his friends and his fans across the globe.

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