BY CHIEDZA MAZHANGARA
WINE matures with age, goes the saying. This perfectly describes Afrojazz songstress Edith “Mwanashonga” Manyika who has been singing since the tender age of four.
Manyika, who grew up in Shamva, burst into the limelight with her debut single Chakanaka Chinokutevera in 2021 and has not looked back.
So far, she has one album to her credit, along with several singles.
However, not much is known about her. NewsDay Weekender took time to hear more about her life outside music.
Outside music, how do you spend your time?
Spending time at the gym during the week, weekends I always make sure I attend a church service.
I have a small flower garden patch in front of my house and I enjoy maintaining it.
Cooking is also my passion, and for fun I post recipes ad cooked meals on WhatsApp cooking groups. I also like hanging out with friends and eating out.
I am a very sociable person and easy to get along with. And shopping! I love shopping and getting my nails and hair done.
How do you separate work and family?
My parents live in Shamva and I have four siblings. As a family we are very close and take every opportunity to meet up, be it somebody’s birthday or wedding and to celebrate important events on the Christians calendar.
What are your future aspirations?
To create music that people can enjoy currently and have a lasting impact upon their lives. I want my music to be enjoyed by future generations and to be known internationally.
Of course, music is art; it is about unique creations and standing out among others and that means I am hoping for recognition locally, regionally and internationally by winning awards.
With that I will be looking forward to securing international collaborations.
Music is my passion and it is my wish to be able to influence current and future generations of music artistes.
I also wish to have the capacity to mentor and support new or upcoming music artistes who may not be as privileged as I have been, so it is my dream that one day a very excited and enthusiastic young person may walk through the doors and into Edith Music Academy.
Your most embarrassing moment?
Once I was walking out of a store and perhaps my mind was elsewhere and this gentleman approached me to express his appreciation of my music, as my mind was stuck in distant thoughts, I failed to read his body language and comprehend what he had said, so I literally jumped away.
He calmly and patiently waited for me to compose myself and reiterate what he had said.
Apparently, he frequently shops in this store and has seen me several times, but never bothered to approach me.
He went on to say he was a DJ and plays in several venues in Bulawayo, where he was going to be playing my music. I apologised twice.
How do you manage pressure?
Being disciplined is my first strategy and I have established dedicated different times for work and leisure, although the nature of my work as a musician requires that I attend certain events and meetings outside of those times.
Balancing being disciplined with a degree of flexibility in my approach reduces tensions to my schedule.
Also making sure that people around me understand my way of working helps as I may not be able to attend important family events or have to cancel at a short notice.
To reduce pressure on my work/home life, I work with a management team that helps me plan my things well ahead and this involves having a good oversight on calendar events especially like Valentine’s Day which is a good opportunity to promote your love songs.
This means having your songs and accompanying visuals ready and in time for release in days leading up to the event.
The increased utilisation of digital communication tools such as Zoom and WhatsApp has been helpful in managing time as these take away travel time and meetings can be set up quickly even those involving parties abroad.
Does your husband accept the fact that you are a musician, especially sometimes when you might have late night concerts, how does he accept that?
I am not married yet and hoping to be soon. Being in a relationship has not impacted negatively on my career as I was forthcoming with this and what is involved.
My partner appreciates art and is very supportive. He has qualifications and previous experience in visual arts, which has made it very easy to explain what I do. Besides, as long as your relationship is built on trust, there are little challenges experienced by one’s engagements in their line of work.
Yes, other people may comment and I believe it is my task and that of all other musicians to change perceptions and build one that showcases professionalism and good character.”
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