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Former Matavire bass guitarist bows out

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STANLEY Nyoni, a fine bass guitarist for the late great Paul Matavire in both the Jairos Jiri Band and the Hit Machine Band, died on Sunday at Karanda Hospital in Mt Darwin, a few days after having granted NewsDay an exclusive interview during which he relived his time with Matavire.

BY OWN CORRESPONDENT

Stanley Nyoni
Stanley Nyoni

Strikingly, Stan may have had a premonition that his end was near.

When NewsDay visited him, he was visibly sick and constantly asked this reporter why he chose to interview him on that particular day, when his employer was about to take him for treatment. He quipped: “You think something will happen to me?”

Just like Matavire, Nyoni died far from the madding crowd where they made a name at the peak of their music careers.

Born 53 years ago at Luveve Clinic in Bulawayo, Nyoni ventured into music at the age of 17 when he joined the Jairos Jiri Band as a bass guitar player.

Many will remember him as the youth whose guitar looked just like him in size, but he had such control over it and that he would dance while strumming it.

“I grew up in the band, I was young when I joined,” he recalled in his last interview.

Nyoni said although Matavire’s first release, Ndoibata Sei? which came out in 1984 was a flop, the group did not give up.

“We soldiered on and, soon, we were on the road again, but with a huge following until we struck the right chord,” he said.

Nyoni chronicled the road he had travelled with Matavire and the glory that followed as they drew many fans.

He spoke of the disruption caused by Matavire’s imprisonment following a rape conviction, but refused to say whether or not he believed Matavire actually committed the crime.

Nyoni was part of the band which released a string of albums and when Matavire parted ways with the Jairos Jiri Band, Nyoni followed him to the new Hit Machine band.

“We produced many albums. I am in pain, but I remember the last Madhara emaGonyeti,” he said.

Matavire released 13 albums including Matavire Mbune, Doctor Love, Akanaka Akarara, Gakanje, Fadza Customer, Govanai, Asipo Haapo, Zimbe remoto and Gonye Remari in a long colourful music career.

“I was playing bass throughout,” Nyoni recalled.

He said he still had vivid memories of two particular shows held in Gweru.

“Matavire was jailed soon after our Gweru show and on his return, we went to the same venue as if to pick up from where we had left off,” Nyoni said, adding that the atmosphere was electric and the return thunderous.

Matavire’s return spawned a new album titled, Back from College. College was a euphemism for prison — like a school of hard knocks.

In 2000, Nyoni, however, left the band and sought a job as a disc jockey at a Beitbridge nightclub where he was employed by Terry Charles Mulowa.

Mulowa rented out his club a few years later and Nyoni remained behind and continued as a DJ.

“When the new club owner, Hudson Mhlanga, stopped the business, my music career ended and I joined him in his shipping business,” he said.

He spoke of a small lump on his head that he used to scratch way back in 1996 — and little did he knew that was a sign of impending disaster, 20 years later.

“It disappeared only to resurface later, but it was again treated and got healed. Then it resurfaced like a boil which was again treated,” he said.

In 2002, the lump reappeared and was treated before shooting out in two places in 2015.

It never healed until Tuesday last week when the growth, which had burst, oozed puss incessantly before he was taken to Karanda Hospital.

Mhlanga said it took a long time for Nyoni to seek medical help because he believed the lump’s source could have been an act of witchcraft rather than a medical problem.

“So, we reacted slowly because he wanted it prayed for,” he said.

Mhlanga said at the time of his death doctors at Karanda were making investigative tests on tissues removed from the lump on Nyoni’s head.

“He was to return for treatment after eight days,” he said.

But it was never to be. The end had come earlier than would have been expected.

Married to a maMdlongwa, Stan — who together with Moffat Dube were the two surviving members of the Jairos Jiri and Hit Machine bands — is survived by his wife and four children.

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