Manjokota’s rise from herdboy to sungura maestro

Sungura musician and Samaita Express frontman Taruvinga “Sugar Sugar” Manjokota (45) has disclosed how he was able to rise from his difficult childhood background to become a respected artiste.

By Admire Jamu-Mlambo

In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style from his base in Durban, South Africa, where he relocated last year in search of better fortunes, the Mairosi hitmaker said his music journey started with a makeshift guitar.

“I started off working as a herdboy in Buhera between 1991 and 1995 so as to eke out a living. It was then that I made a makeshift guitar. I must admit that it was really, really difficult. I would save part of my wages which I used to launch my music career,” Manjokota said.

Famed for the hit song, Mairosi, Sugar Sugar released his first album Zviri Mukati with hit songs Juliana and Yofamba Famba Summer in 2005.

“I should thank God that my first album Zviri Mukati became an instant hit. It was very popular among sungura fans. It definitely changed my life for the better and I began to see a change in my life,” he said.

His discography includes Zvirimukati, Kutaurataura, Chamungarwire, Kuchema Nekunakirwa, Chimwe Nechimwe, Munoda Kuti Ndiitesei and Strategy.Manjokota, however, said piracy remained one of the biggest drawbacks in the local music industry.

“I almost quit music after noticing my CDs being sold openly, thereby becoming a victim of piracy. If you consider the effort that we put as musicians to come up with an album, then you come face-to-face with someone selling your music at US$1 for two, it hurts and gives a sense of hopeless and discouragement in music as a profession,” said the 45-year-old lead guitarist who was born under Chief Nyashanu.

“It is unfortunate that you become a household name musically, but in the end you have nothing to show for your hard work.”

Manjokota, who is now a haulage truck driver in Durban said he occasionally holds live shows, adding that his forthcoming six-track album Kutsemurirana would be unleashed soon after lockdown.

“I have held shows in preparation for my new album. This new album is proving to be popular among fans,” he said.

Manjokota said he hoped to come back to Zimbabwe and hold live shows to market his latest album as soon as the COVID-19-induced lockdown is over.

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