A dark cloud is hovering over the local music industry following the deaths of three musicians over the past week in separate incidents.
Young mbira maestro Taku Mafika died from brain haemorrhage at Parirenyatwa Hospital on Tuesday night. He was 28.
Gakamoto Jumbo Stars lost vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chakanetsa Kumulani on Thursday in Domboshava while Vabati VaJehovah’s Khumbulani Magaya died on Friday in Mhondoro.
Both were aged 41 and died after undisclosed long illnesses.
Khumbulani was buried at Setric Farm in Domboshava on Friday and Magaya was buried in Mhondoro on Sunday.
Mafika will be buried at his rural home in Chivhu on Saturday.
According to a family spokesperson, Mafika was admitted at Harare Hospital almost two weeks ago and transferred to Parirenyatwa Hospital on Friday for an operation to the head.
He seemed to have recovered from the operation, but his condition worsened on Tuesday night.
Mourners are gathered at number 34 Gilwell Square in Southerton.
Mafika was a promising mbira star who has toured internationally and will be remembered for his excellent shows, especially at the Book Café.
Many will remember Kumulani for his role on hit song Chiramwiwa, which he did with brother and Gakamoto Jumbo Stars co-founder Vary.
He is survived by his wife and five children.
“He was composer of a number of popular songs.
We worked well since forming the group and he has recorded an album titled Pane Zvirikuitika, that is yet to be released. He was hoping to have it on the market by the end of this month,” said Vary.
Kumulani’s other brother, Tongai Moyo’s bass guitarist, Spencer, said his death was a great loss to the music industry.
“The band was a family project and I worked with them for many years before I left to work with Somandla Ndebele and later Tongai Moyo.
He was a talented musician and his rhythm guitar prowess and powerful vocals are inimitable,” said Spencer.
Gakamoto Jumbo Stars, ormed in Mazowe in 1992, stole the limelight with Chiramwiwa in 1993 before releasing other popular songs that include Chirangano and Mukuwasha Dondo.
Magaya was one of the founding members of the popular apostolic choral group Vabati VaJehovah and did lead vocals on popular songs like Chiripo Chikomo and Tirimo Munzira.
Due to his deteriorating health Magaya did not feature in the group’s last two albums Jesu Ibako and Denga Idzva.
Other members of the group, Wiseman and Timothy Magaya, died in 2007 and 2009 respectively.
Family spokesperson Abisha Magaya said they had lost a hard-working brother and leader.
“We are very disturbed by his death. He has left a big vacuum that no one could possibly fill,” said Abisha.
Magaya had become one of the cornerstones of this pioneering group of apostolic a cappella choral music.
He is survived by wife Ellen and four children.