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Bird’s Eye View with The Raven: The Raven is back!

So it’s true what they say, huh? You can’t keep a good man – or is it a good bird, down. Is the Spiritual Bird claiming to be a good bird? No ways – not with a straight face anyway. But that’s a topic for another day, right?

First things first. A few days after flying off his nest, The Raven got the sad news of the passing-on of that great son of the Mthwakazi soil – Chief Albert Gumede. No-one man can claim to have contributed more to raising Mthwakazi consciousness in South Africa than Chief Gumede. Even the sudden rise of Mthwakazi Maskandi – someone says it has now entered its free-fall zone, is partly owed to the great chief’s benevolence. It’s a pity they don’t recognize such works in scarf-land, otherwise Chief Gumede would have had no parallels at the National Heroes Acre when it came to cultural matters. We pay our tribute to the great man. He is an undisputed hero of the modern Matabele nation.  Rest In eternal Peace Baba Qwabe. Sizohlala sikukhumbula. Uyibekile induku ebandla.

The editor has made some startling demands – that The Raven must adopt a more international stance and spread its short wings all over Africa – one wonders which bird ever manages to do that, but well, that will be for the next editions. In this thankless trade, you either shape up or remain under freezing temperatures. Kuyabanda la ngaphandle!

And along came those wayward Zimbabweans – again!

Just a few months without The Raven and the nation slides into cruise control? The Spiritual Bird hears some maskandi and gospel artists have hibernated, while those who remain active have re-introduced pandemonium and invited scorn to the trade.  Some have even been heard quipping that they have the freedom to be dirty and disorderly at events because The Raven is dead. Really? Well, you got it all wrong. The Spiritual Bird is back, so be very much afraid.

Ibutho Lenqama! Whoever knows anything about what happened to this group of cultural wannabes? At some point, the nest became uninhabitable, as the odor of their internal fights, disgruntlements and resignations stunk to the high heavens. And then there was that press release or letter of divorce was it, speaking of irretrievable differences with the chief (may his soul rest in peace). Boys, it’s been barely five since you commandeered us into accepting and ordaining the same chief you wanted us to disown just because the beer, the meat and the money stopped coming. Are we really your toys? Next time, leave the duty to install kings and chiefs to the whole community. We know you can be bought and resold. And then there were those accusations of bribery, state capture and death threats. Is that how much our culture has been eroded? Boys will always be boys, except when they try to act like men and begin to expose their bare buttocks.

The member of Ibutho Lenqama who made those startling revelations threatened to spill even more beans if he was dared. The silence that followed from the rest of the members – including the crown council, told more than it was trying to be silent about. From up above in the nest, Inyoni Yodumo could smell panic and uncertainty and prayers from the petrified members of that grouping – amaNtungwa included. No prize for guessing if the allegations made were true. But it’s none of my business anyway.     

And then there is that chief who never knows when to speak, what to say and which political leader to befriend – Chief Khayisa Ndiweni. With all due respect, is the chief still a traditional leader or a political wannabe? I mean, before the elections, he was telling all who cared to listen that they should vote the MRP. Nothing wrong with that. The MRP are also a registered political party worth someone’s votes. But the problem comes when the same chief, speaking to the same people, with the same mouth and in the same lifetime, tells them to start supporting Nelson Chamisa. Nothing wrong with shifting one’s focus, but the problem comes when a chief becomes confused and decides to carry the whole nation with him. Sir, you told us to support the MRP and we will not move till you tell how much they promised to give you, on which they defaulted. Well, is a chief even supposed to be openly canvassing for political parties? Doesn’t that soil the traditional role our traditional leaders have to play in their societies? But again, it’s none of my damn raven’s business.

And whoever knows what happened to a company called Bayethe Music? Talk of those who ebb and flow with the moon? One moment, the company is doing mass-production – signing more than 10 artists on the go and the next, nothing is even heard of the said company – no Southern Express, no Izwi Lesiphelo, no Bongani Ncube, no Izihlabane, no Gugu and no Noma. Just a long chain of promises that were made and never fulfilled. Trust a Zimbabwean to always disappoint you! Well, the editor has some attachment to the company, so The Raven needs to be careful. It’s cold out there.

The last time we heard, Bongani Mncube took flight from Bayethe Music to flirt with Kingdom Blue, who took flight from Bongani Mncube to flirt with MC Mo Shaba and the Dubia Masters. Crazy world we live in.

Zimbabwe is close by. Word has it that some two budding gospel singers who somehow believe they are there already, ladies for that matter, made fools of themselves – well, at least one of them did, live on radio. The “Gospel Diva” was live on air when the “Queen in Gospel” called the station, making some accusations she could not substantiate. And who gets to christen these struggling musicians anyway? No top sales, no Awards won, no fan base, no paying foreign tours – nothing to show for 10 years in the music industry except volumes of dreams and misses, but people still call themselves these big names they cannot even sustain? It’s not any of my business, is it?  But ladies, the next time you want to fight, please take it to your private space. I hate it when people try to nationalize their private fights.

And two maskandi shows are line-up for Hillbrow on April 6. Two “kings” of the genre will be entertaining their subjects at two different venues in contrasting style. No need to mention names, but at the Hillbrow Theatre, one of the kings will be launching his new CD – entrance is R50 and the CD will be available at R60 a copy. At Berea Park, another “king” will be launching a tour – entrance is free and CDs will be available for free. To spice things up, one of the two kings will land with a chopper. We really do live in a crazy world, don’t we?

But that’s not the end of it, word hitting the nest is that one of the “kings” – or rather his palace guards, are aggrieved by the clash of dates and want the other king to switch his show. But dude, why not just deal with things you can control and shift your own show? Why do people always want to complicate things? Helicopter arrivals are a once-in-a-lifetime event at especially Zimbabwean maskandi shows, so why try to deny Hillbrow kids that rare chance of seeing history being made right before their own curious eyes? Imagine it, a chopper at close range, dropping one of our own! And then one jealous king decides to spoil all that fun? Dude, do you really have to be a party pooper all in a bid to protect your ego? Just change your own date because the Siyaya that you will use to get to the venue will be there even 10 years from now. And if one king calls his subjects, shouldn’t another be allowed to do the same? And you have been telling us you are the king of maskandi for more than five years, now prove it or shut-up!

At least now we will get to see who the real owner of the coveted crown is. We are tired of every Jack, Jillian and Tom marching into the arena and proclaiming they are the musical kings and queens without our approval. The world of pretenders has collapsed.

Did I say kings and queens? Did any of you ever believe that scumbag who decided to invite scorn on all Zimbabweans by faking his own death, just to please some miracle-hungry preacher? I mean, who on earth chooses to prematurely enter a coffin and get driven around in a hearse, all for the love of money, or is it food, or both, or total madness? Dude, acting dead and resurrected so you can get earn a few dollars and two plates of rice, meat and hake? Are you that cheap? Who even in their dumbest senses ever does that? Special form of madness that one.

Well, this was a rushed greeting. Meet you next Monday and for now, back to my nest.

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