A last-minute appearance by Roki at the heroes’ gala at Gwanzura Stadium saved urban groovers who had not done the song they had been ordered to perform by organisers.
As part of the bill, urban groovers had been told by the Heroesplush organisers to sing Happy Birthday Zimbabwe but due to lack of coordination with the DJs they failed to perform it.
“We are finished akomana (fellows)” said Sanii Makhalima as Cindy got off stage.
“Happy Birthday was supposed to be performed on Cindy’s slot and now it is through but the DJs did not play the backtrack.”
Roki, who had not been contracted to perform, surprised fellow artistes and organisers of the gala in the early hours of Saturday morning when he suddenly appeared on stage unannounced.
ExQ was visibly surprised to see Roki and his dancers on stage as the estranged King of Urban Grooves took a microphone and sang his part of the popular song Hauchambondifonere which ExQ had been performing alongside Stunner.
Roki then disappeared only to reappear on stage after Cindy’s performance.
He then performed his latest offering Dzimbadzemabwe (Houses of Stone) which was apt for the occasion unlike all the other songs performed by other urban grooves artistes.
The powerful lyrics and a small speech he gave before singing the song ultimately saved the day for urban groovers by impressing the organisers who had expected to hear Happy Birthday Zimbabwe.
Clad in a white worksuit with the logo sponsored by the Entertainment Authority with the help of Tinopona Katsande, Roki and his dancers set the stage ablaze as always.
“We do celebrate the heroes who fought the war of liberation but this song is dedicated to every Zimbabwean who stayed in the country when things got bad, those who remained and faced the problems are also heroes,” said Roki before performing the song.
In an interview backstage, Roki told this reporter that he had been working on the Dzimbadzemabwe song for a long time that he could not let the opportunity of performing before Zimbabwe pass.
He said the song was a celebration of the “heroes” who had struggled through the country’s economic and political crises and did not relocate to South Africa, Botswana or any other country in the world.
“I was told that I was not on the list of urban grooves artistes to perform but I sourced for sponsorship from the Entertainment Authority to perform so we managed to do so because of them.
“They even helped us with the funds to print this gear we are wearing to market our city’s finest project,” he said.
Sanii was full of praise of Roki and reckoned his performance made up for the Happy Birthday song. He said Roki’s performance was brilliant and well-choreographed.
Winky D also put up a splendid performance as did the other urban grooves artistes who included Leonard Mapfumo, Stunner, Shastro, Cindy, Shinso and King Shaddy among others.
After the urban grooves slot, MicInity eased the crowd with his mellow reggae tunes, then the Mbare Chimurenga Choir stepped up on stage and did a couple of their infamous“jingles” before Nicholas “Madzibaba” Zacharia took the stage to shake up the crowd whose numbers had slowly started dwindling because of the cold blizzard.
Dino Mudondo also proved that he still has a huge fan base as he put up a good show.
Meanwhile, Hazvinei Sakarombe aka DJ Chilli ironically could not stand the chilly weather in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
“It is very cold but it’s a great show,” she said between shivers.