THEIRS is a tale of sheer determination and patience. Farai Jambwa, popularly known as Matemai, played the drumbeat with ease, as guests trooped into the awards ceremony room at the Rainbow Towers recently.
By JAIROS SAUNYAMA
The echoes of the drumbeat coupled by a fine tune emanating from the marimba instrument could be heard even outside the flamboyant Rainbow Towers.
The unique sound was being provided by Goromonzi-based Jerusarema/Mbende group, Ngoma Dzepasi, who have since relocated from their rural base to Harare, where their fortunes are changing fast.
The group that is well-known for playing the popular traditional Jerusarema/Mbende dance has been operating in the rural areas of Mashonaland East, before their leader Alfred Chiyangwa took the bull by its horns and they relocated to Mufakose, Harare in a gamble move that has paid off.
Chiyangwa, whose stage name is Mambo Mukuvapasi, told this paper that Goromonzi was just a platform for them to launch their careers and that their new-found base is going to change their lives.
After landing in Harare, Ngoma Dzepasi signed contracts with a number of entertainment hubs, where they will be performing their traditional acts.
“We are now in Harare and Mufakose is our new home, 2018 resolutions and all is well. The drums are in the capital city. We are rolling already,” he said.
Ngoma Dzepasi was born in Goromonzi about a decade ago. The young artistes started performing the Jerusarema dance at Juru Growth Point, where they were paid in kind with sadza or little money.
Despite the harsh economic conditions the group persevered and registered to take part in the Chibuku Neshamwari dance competitions.
Due to their hard work, they won the national finals held in Bulawayo in 2014.
Ngoma Dzepasi became a household name in Mashonaland East Province and they were honoured by the local traditional leadership, who gave them land to build a culture centre at Chitsvuku Hills.
The centre now called Dzimwe RaGutu, is yet to have structures, as the group are still seeking donor funds and money to construct a state-of-the art building.
The hill has become a playground for the group and other youngsters from the neighbouring villages, as they spend time rehearsing traditional dances.
Chiyangwa groomed youngsters and introduced new instruments to the group like marimba.
In a bid to market themselves, the ensemble released a Mbende album, but it did not do well on the music charts, as it did not receive adequate airplay on local radio stations.
The album was laden with house, reggae and sungura tracks fused with the Jerusarema drumbeat to give a refreshing and unique sound.
Everything was done in the rural areas with the album being recorded at Ice B’s Studios located at PaCross Business Centre.
Today, it seems the group has struck the right chord by moving to the capital, where their unique sound is bringing in the much needed cash for the Dzimwe RaGutu project, as well as for the welfare of the group.
“We are happy that we are getting deals, especially, from high profile companies, who want us to perform at their functions.
“Dzimwe RaGutu remains our home and we always go back there to get inspiration and do rehearsals,” Chiyangwa said.
There is time for everything, and this is the time for Ngoma Dzepasi to up their game in the capital, where a lot of groups are competing for recognition.
Perhaps, their move to the city is their own way out of poverty. They left the Hills of Goromonzi and are now performing on the floors of Rainbow Towers Hotel.