‘ChiTown: An arts, talent hub’

Godfrey Sithole

SINCE independence, Chitungwiza has arguably produced the bulk of Zimbabwe’s best talent across disciplines that has impacted the nation and abroad, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Chitungwiza North legislator Godfrey Sithole has claimed.

In a recent interview with NewsDay Life & Style, just before he was arrested for allegedly inciting violence in Nyatsime recently, Sithole said there should be a deliberate effort to improve Chitungwiza’s infrastructure and facilities to assist budding artists.

“Directly or indirectly, the dormitory town of Chitungwiza has continued to produce some of the big names ranging from musicians, footballers, visual, fine and performing artists who have made it large in the arts industry,” he said.

“Chitungwiza has had a lot of prominent artists. We can be an arts and culture hub if relevant authorities put in place policies, facilities and infrastructure.”

The youthful legislator said artists in Chitungwiza were facing challenges that include, but not limited to, lack of facilities such as galleries, theatre parks, exhibition and civic centres.

Although there is an arts centre, Chitungwiza Arts Centre established by the government in the 1990s, it is failing to accommodate all the artists.

“It is unfortunate that there seems to be inadequate support given to these artists by the government despite that in 1985, Parliament passed an act that specifically deals with the promotion of artists in Zimbabwe. This act led to the establishment of the arts mother body, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe,” he said.

A survey by NewsDay Life & Style showed that to date, Chitungwiza boasts of icons such as the late singers John “Mr Chitungwiza” Chibadura, Marshal Munhumumwe, Cephas “Motomuzhinji” Mashakada and the Godfather of gospel music Mechanic Manyeruke.

The town also birthed gospel’s first family, Baba na Mai Charamba, sungura maestro Alick Macheso and his ‘senior lecturer’, Nicholas Zakaria, gospel singer and preacher Minister Michael Mahendere. Also, controversial rapper Maskiri, Vimbai Zimuto, dancehall queen Lady Squanda and chanter Dadza D to mention just a few, hail from Chitungwiza.

On the creative side the town has artists such as multi-award winner Dominic Benhura, Johnson Zuze, Tonderai Sowa, Shepherd Madzikatire and Tonderai Marezva.

ChiTown has a rich field of stars across all arts disciplines.

In film and television the town was home to the late comedian Lawrence Simbarashe, popularly known as Mudhara Bonzo, actress Annie Nhira who played Vimbai on the once famous soap Studio 263 as well as the late Simon “Mutirowafanza” Shumba, among others.

Off the creative stage, Chitungwiza is also home to football stars who have made great strides both locally and internationally. Among them are Lloyd Chitembwe, Norman Mapeza, Stewart Murisa, Lloyd Mutasa, Alois Bunjira, Kalisto Pasuwa, Husain Amidu, Gift Muzadzi, Forbes Ndaba (late), Costa Nhamoinesu, Liberty Masunda, Robert Zvomuya, Jonathan Chigwinya, Austin “Masebhe” Juwayei, Elliot Matsika and Newton Katanha.

All the mentioned, undoubtedly indeed confirm that Chitungwiza is a hub of talent.

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