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Kapfupi’s transformation

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Those who attended this year’s edition of Chibuku Road to Fame will agree that Freddie Manjalima — better known as Kapfupi — has transformed himself from the obscurity of street acting into a giant musical force on the local scene.

Kapfupi’s act obliterated all traces of the erstwhile street theatre actor who struggled to capture the attention of a handful crowd in Harare’s First Street as his polished performance and lyrics captivated and thrilled the multitudes of revellers at the show.

The fact that the organisers of Chibuku Road to Fame—one of the most anticipated events on Zimbabwe’s entertainment calendar — included Kapfupi as part of this year’s concept is testimony that the young musician has now matured enough to rub shoulders with greats such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Nicholas Zakaria and Tongai Moyo.

What captivates and thrills the audience is not only Kapfupi’s performance on stage but the way he refreshingly fuses the music and drama genres reminiscent of, but definitely not a mimicry of the late, legendary Safirio Madzikatire, popularly known as Mukadota.

Unlike the present generation of artistes who strive to sound like musical greats such as Leonard Dembo, Marshall Munhumumwe, System Tazvida, Alick Macheso and Paul Matavire, among others, Kapfupi is his own man.

It is this originality and the ability to effortlessly fuse drama and music that thrills the crowd during performances of his hits such as Mai Nga.

That Kapfupi stole the thunder from musical gurus such as Mtukudzi and Zakaria is as undeniable as the fact that the multitudes responded naturally to his music.

The generation gaps among the revellers were effectively sealed off by Kapfupi’s lyrics and melody as the response was overwhelmingly cross-cutting.

When he belted his Jiti tune Chengeta Chikwama Chababa it was as if a contagious wave of sweet madness had been unleashed from the stage onto the crowd as almost everybody grabbed the nearest reveller by the waist to form “dancing trains” circulating on the dance floor.

No waist was sacred as the melodious sound and catchy lyrics emanating from the stage pervaded the audience with a sense of ecstatic togetherness that crushed all social barriers.

After the show, Kapfupi’s name was on the lips of many and the dominant remark was Kapfupi atopinda (Kapfupi has made it).

What remains to be seen, as one reveller said, is whether he will keep focused and maintain the momentum to become one of Zimbabwe’s greatest performing artistes or he will assume the air of success and fall by the wayside.

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