Journalist pens Baba Manyeruke’s memoire

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BY TENDAI SAUTA
VETERAN photographer and journalist Bonwell Choga has joined the list of authors who are promoting local languages after he penned a Shona memoire of the legendary gospel musician Mechanic Manyeruke (pictured).

Manyeruke is among pioneers of Zimbabwean gospel music alongside the likes of Shuvai Wutaunashe, Jordan Chataika, Freedom Semwayo, Gospel Train and Chaka Ngwenya.

The book titled Kubva Muguruva and loosely translated to mean rising from the dust, tracks Manyeruke’s history from being prematurely born, his journey to seek employment in Gweru, a stint as a gardener and his endeavours into the music business.

Kubva Muguruva is the second publication for Choga who is a photography teacher at the National Art Gallery in Harare.

His debut was Ngoma Yokwedu, which was sponsored by the Budding Writers Association and featured some of the best literal artists from Chitungwiza.

Choga will launch the book on August 27 simultaneously with Manyeruke’s 28th album release at the same event that will also celebrate Manyeruke’s home he built in his rural Chiundura communal lands, north east of Gweru city.

The day is going to hold a lot of memories as it will also mark Manyeruke’s retirement from mainstream musical performances.

Several stakeholders in the arts industry, the Salvation Army Church and Chipaz Promotions are involved in organising the mega event.

Choga told NewsDay Life & Style that preparations for the book and Manyeruke’s album launch set to be graced by some government officials and fellow musicians as well as other industry stakeholders are at an advanced stage.

He said his book exposes several challenges faced by musicians that include piracy and lack of creative spaces.

“Baba Manyeruke’s life has a Christian teaching on the need to monitor children from childhood. He struggled to achieve almost everything that made him realise his dream earlier in life,” Choga said.

“Manyeruke was lucky to be protected and not dumped by his father Vamagundani when it was a popular tradition to abandon prematurely born children from societies. Sadly, Manyeruke’s loving father passed on when he was in standard three.”

Manyeruke said the release of the book and his 28th album titled      will mark his retirement from mainstream competition, adding that he would only perform for a lucrative deal.

“I was in America last August and they are waiting for the book. I took serious note of advice from the then owner of Gramma Records Jullian Howard that the audience must be spoiled for choice in anything one does,” he added.

Like most boys during the colonial era, Manyeruke also left home at a tender age of 12 to seek employment as a gardener.

His music journey was not that rosy.

Manyeruke was only able to secure a recording contract with the now defunct Gramma Records after veteran producer Bothwell Nyamhondera used his veto power to challenge the then highly biased production team to accept gospel music.

From thereon, Manyeruke’s music was well received by fans and broadcasters.

He went on to top radio charts in the 80s and 90s against stiff competition from other local and international musicians.

Manyeruke, who has scooped several awards in his music career, also sits on the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association board.

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