DOUGIE Chimutanda, Thomas Mapfumo, JB Matiza, the late Paul Mkondo and Safirio “Mukadota” Madzikatire are all tied by one thing in common – Club Hide Out 99.
Chimutanda and the late Mkondo at one time superseded each other in being the sole proprietors of the entertainment joint while, before relocating to the United States, Mapfumo was the resident performer as he made it his base for rehearsals.
Mukadota was a well-known flipper addict who patronised the joint gambling and it is rumoured that at one time he lost his latest BMW after losing the game.
Situated in Lochnivar, a suburb on the south-western side of the heavy industrial area of Southerton and Workington, the joint was once dubbed the entertainment hub of Harare during the early 90s.
Prominent bands used to jostle for shows at the joint which was then listed as “the place to be”.
It is one of the few venues back in the days that boasted of hosting regional and international musicians like Senegalese artiste Manu Dibango and Lubumbashi Stars from the Democratic Republic of Congo, then Zaire, held their shows.
Lubumbashi Stars eventually made it their resident venue before Diamond Musica, another rhumba outfit, shot some of their videos at the same place at the height of the Zimbabwean rhumba craze.
Throughout the years, proprietors came in and out and brought in their own significance that built the current nostalgia.
As time went on, patronage fell until Joe Biggie Matiza took over at the turn of the millennium and revamped it bringing back a degree of glamour that managed to lure entertainment lovers.
When the open-air old school craze hit the city, the joint tried the same notion, but this did not last long.
Years have now gone by and one is left to witness the story of how the mighty has fallen.
The space is in a sorry state with the lawn that used to be well manicured now suffocated by tall grass and bushes.
Fences have succumbed to years of neglect and part of the yard is now a sweet potato field.
The swimming pool is now delirict and has been condemned to a mosquito incubator.
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) workers who have been living at the dilapidated property have been thrown out, but there is no sign of hope as to whether or not the good old days will return.
The big supermarket and butchery that are adjacent to the joint are also defunct and a man believed to be an NRZ employee occupies the small cottage after he got permission to stay by the new owner, but could not comment further on the issue and referred the reporter to his superiors.
NRZ public relations manager Fanuel Masikati said he had nothing to say about the current state of the club as they had leased the joint to a new owner.
“When we heard that there was now a new owner we received the news with so much excitement as we used to have some quality time there, but he only came here when the families were being evicted and that is the last we saw of the new owner. Now we can just, but hope for its new opening,” said one Jabu, who once patronised the place.