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Lisa Duduzile

BULAWAYO – Zimbabwean musician-cum-comedian, Madlela S’khobokhobo Power this week launched a rhumba track in honour of legendary fellow rhumba artist, Themba Mthimbani Boyoyo Mathe.

The powerful rhumba track titled “Celebrate”, was launched earlier this week, alongside a gospel offering titled “As I Pray”.

The “Ngamnanka uSaMamoe” hit-maker, featured Mthimbani in “Celebrate”, while Thandi Dlana and Bhajila featured in “As I pray”.

“We launched them on radio but we are planning something big on May 17 to celebrate Themba Boyoyo as his birthday is on the 15th of May,” said Madlela, adding Mathe, who turns 45 years old next month, was an unheralded rhumba hero who had done a lot for Zimbabwean music, worthy of celebrating and honouring.

“Celebrate for me means I as Madlela celebrate Themba for his long service, dedication and excellence in the music industry and As I pray is a prayer for my country and my people , hoping for the best,” added the Gwanda-born Madlela, who real name is Mothusi Bashimane Ndlovu.

“We are celebrating Mathe for the good work his has done for this country’s music – ukujayivisa isizwe (keeping the nation dancing” for more than a decade. His dancing and singing style has seen so many artists born to follow on his track and emulate him. That shows what an inspiration he has been to our nation. He is a true, living legend!”

Born Bekithemba Mathe at Bulawayo’s Mpilo Hospital in 1974, Mathe – who attended Igusi, Buda and Halale schools for his primary education, and Whitewater High School in Matobo for his secondary education, broke into professional music as a dancer for fallen rhumba singer Ndux Malax in 1994, but broke into national fame as a lead-singer and nimbly dancer for Plumtree rhumba group, Mokis Connection.

He has recorded several albums and performed at a number of government-held galas, including embarking on a six-month tour of Algeria at the turn of the millennium.   

He left Mokis connection to go solo – going under the name Boyoyo and Mthimbani Soundblasters in 2010.

Madlela, whose inspiration comes from the desire to tell authentic Mthwakazi stories through music, also urged the upcoming artists to be original.

“The most important thing is to be authentic, do what you’ve been given, not what you have seen others do,” said the award-winning artist, who has taken Zimbabwe by storm.

“Sometimes we want to do something after seeing others doing that same thing and we feel we can do better yet that is not your talent. Identify your talent and be sure that it is what you want to do. If that is what God wants you to do and you feel it inside that you need to pursue it, then go for it. You can’t play soccer just because you saw Peter Ndlovu play soccer, but because you know you have the talent.”

The musician also expressed his concern over the challenge of using South Africa and America as a yard-stick, thereby causing Zimbabwean artists to copy those from the two countries.

“Obviously because South Africa and America are big markets, it is now common to say I need to sound like Sjava, Zola for me to make it, yet there’s need for artists to speak to people,” added Madlela.

“You need to speak into their souls so that your art speaks to them. If you are going to use Zola’s style, Zola has already spoken to those people so there’s no space for you. If you are authentic and your art speaks to them, they will definitely listen and support you. The problem is we want to sound like the artists that have made it. In uniqueness there is always a gap for you. I realized a gap without copying anyone and that is why my name is making it bit by bit.”

Madlela has won awards and gotten nominations at different platforms that include the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards South Africa, Bulawayo Arts Awards, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo leadership Awards, and Skyz FM awards, among others and continues to thrive in the industry.

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