Could this be the time for Alick Macheso to re-strategise?
By Silence Charumbira
The past weeks have seen a revolution taking place on the local music front with key members deserting Macheso’s Orchestra Mberikwazvo to form their own outfit Extra Kwazvose.
While this is not new in Zimbabwe and the world over, for Macheso it may be an indication that it’s time to get out of his comfort zone considering the ripples that have characterised the scene.
For a long time the Sungura maestro enjoyed the support of numerous music fans while others were struggling.
He possessed the pull factor that showbiz thrives on better than anyone else.
But now it appears he has met his Doppel Ganger; alas at a time that he sought to rebuild after a failed album Kwatakabva Kure (Kure kwekure).
Given the new players that have sought to change the game in the form of Jah Prayzah, Sulumani Chimbetu and young Peter Moyo who recently released his debut, he may need to sit down and plan.
Time to rethink
Chanter Jonasi Kasamba was the remaining original band member in Orchestra Mberikwazvo who joined when Macheso defected from Nicholas Zakaria’s Khiama Boys to form the band in 1999. That somehow thrust Macheso into a lull when he felt all was well.
Kasamba had become a brand himself and many fans looked forward to each and every one of his performances. In essence, he was vital in the composition of Macheso’s music. But was he still really necessary? Is it not the case that his animations had become rather outdated? Does that model still work today? When Macheso hired Kasamba it was for the rhumba flare in his music which was intelligent that time-and not today.
In Zimbabwe music has at most been regarded as a hobby and not a profession but that is ridiculous in this day and age where families are surviving on music. That alone spells out the importance of professional management. Various theories have been thrown around about Macheso’s manager William Tsandukwa.
Like Kasamba, Tsandukwa was there by Macheso’s side when the band was born and has stood by him. At that time, it had to be him. But today it no longer makes sense as he doesn’t seem to have ideas to take Orchestra Mberikwazvo to a higher level.
There are some decisions that he has made that may show that he is not up to the task. His public vow to resign if Macheso rehired Peter Kagomera who was fired for misconduct is clear testimony. Who does not know that Kagomera was the best in that band after Franco Slomo left? Macheso’s stage presence has from then been dented because of the “bold” stand that the manager took.
Contracts bind both the employee and employer to meet their end of the bargain. Whoever breaches a contract pays for it. When Macheso was deserted by band members two months ago, it was merely because they did not have contracts and they got away with it.
If indeed they were mistreated as they claim, then Macheso would not have gotten away with it if they had binding contracts. One cannot be scared of risking loss of a band member every time.