By Fred Zindi
It’s become a deeply sad and all too familiar pattern: the revelation that a musician has a catastrophic illness, followed by the launch of the now-inevitable GoFundMe and an announcement of some kind of benefit performance to help raise money towards medical expenses.
Last week, on October 1, a benefit concert was held to support the afflicted Bob Nyabinde as well as to assist him with his medical expenses.
Fellow musicians rallied their loyal fan bases and donated their time, merchandise and music towards this concert with everyone hoping for a positive financial outcome.
First of all, we thank Daves Guzha of Rooftop Promotions for donating the venue where performances were held.
It is difficult to hold fundraising events in these days of the Covid-19 pandemic as numbers of people attending physically are only limited to a 100.
Secondly, thanks go to all the musicians who supported this event to cushion Nyabinde’s medical bills.
Artistes who performed at the event included songbirds Hope Masike, Tariro neGitare, Chipo Muchengwa and Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana, as well as Victor Kunonga, Mono Mukundu, Dereck Mpofu and Nyabinde’s sons, Aggabu and Albert.
While the show allowed limited live audiences of not more than 100 as per national Covid-19 lockdown regulations, it was supposed to also be virtual running on different social media platforms but there were challenges to the livestream links on all social media pages.
Many, like me, sat at home in anticipation, but all in vain. I only managed to see a clip where Mpofu was performing and singing Mari on Facebook the next day, thanks to Mono’s effort.
Bob, aka “The Headmaster” Nyabinde was diagonised with diabetes in 2018 and consequently his eyesight began to fail.
To make matters worse, the multi award-winning Afro Jazz crooner suffered a stroke in July this year further stalling his decades long music career.
He spent three weeks at St Giles Rehabilitation Centre in September where he received (and is still receiving) occupational and physiotherapy.
According to Bob himself, his illness came as a result of his addiction to soft drinks which rendered him blind.
A former headmaster at a school in Kwekwe in Midlands Province, Nyabinde has extended a word of advice to his colleagues in the music industry to adhere to regular medical check-ups, saying his own loss of sight came as a bolt from the blue.
Although Nyabinde claimed that at one time a medical doctor forewarned him about his unquenchable appetite for soft drinks, telling him that the carbonated drinks would one day trigger diabetes in him, he turned a deaf ear.
It was not until one day when he fell off the stage during a performance at Leopard Rock Motel in Vumba near Mutare after his sight completely blacked out that he realised that those warnings he used to get were real.
True to the warnings, the doctors who attended to him at a clinic in Mutare pronounced that his eyes had been badly affected by diabetes, a disease he never knew he had.
After this diagnosis, Bob had this to say:
“I am responsible for what happened to my eyes because I never had the chance to visit a clinic or doctor to have diabetes and eyes checked for years mainly because I was too committed to my career as a musician.”
“I am a widower after having lost my wife in 2007 so I am totally depending on my son, Agga, who is also a musician, who lives with me in Highfield.”
Undeterred by the blindness which hit him, Nyabinde has said he has never ceased performing at his shows where he is backed by his son.
Bob Nyabinde, born on March 10, 1955, grew up in Mutare where he learned to play the guitar and compose songs. After his tertiary education, he moved to Kwekwe where he was a headmaster at a primary school, hence the moniker “The Headmaster” before he decided to leave that profession to become a fulltime musician.
Nyabinde is one of the most celebrated musical talents in Zimbabwe, widely known mostly for his song Chabuda Hapana released in 2002 from his debut album Pane Nyaya, which topped charts and made waves on local radio stations.
At the peak of his career, Bob Nyabinde churned out more chart-topping tracks such as Hapana, Zvipingaidzo, Rudo, Samanyika, Teerera, Wandikona, Kusiya Vana Vega, Zvinoreveiko and Ndiratidze Munwe Chete.
Asked for a comment, Aggabu, Bob’s son, had this to say before the benefit concert at Theatre in the Park:
“As his son and also an artiste, I appreciate what fellow artistes and others have done. Since music is our calling, there is nothing else we can do other than fulfilling his wishes that are listening to music while we are also helping him”.
Bob needs our help and, in my opinion, while the benefit concert assisted in giving him the publicity about his condition, there is no way it could have raised enough money to pay for his hospital expenses which are running into thousands of US dollars. I am proud to know that he swallowed his pride and allowed us to help him.
The greatest gift you can ever give someone is letting them help you when you need it most… any person that’s ever in need, realise you’re giving somebody a gift when you let them help. It’s hard for people to see that.
We get humble when we are in our worst situations, and we shouldn’t let being humble be confused with being humiliated.
Because you’re not being humiliated; you’re giving people that love you a chance to help you, and that’s a true gift.
Usually, there’s one person who is the impetus behind the fundraising drive. That person is referred to as “angel advocate.” That’s the person — sometimes it’s a wife, sometimes it’s a child, sometimes it’s a parent, sometimes it’s a best friend, sometimes it’s a co-worker. Thesepeople are heroes. They have got someone close to them, and they are going to take on a second job in their life. And that job is to make sure that this person is not forgotten, and they get the help they need. Those are the drivers that really do amazing things.
I am not sure what transpired at the Nyabinde benefit concert as I was not involved butAggabu tells me that some US$1 200 was collected from the live audience who each paid US$15 entrance fee. He was not sure how this money would be distributed and how much Bob will end up with.
I have done charity concerts in the past such as Artistes Against Aids where artistes promised to give their services free of chargebut I ended up losing money. Putting up the publicity for the event cost US$100. Hiring a PA system for the event cost US$1000.
Artistes who had said to me they were giving their services free of charge started demanding bus fares, food and refreshments. The venue owner also wanted a percentage of the gate-takings.
Mashambanzou Care Trust, the charity we were raising funds for did not get anything in the end. I learned a lesson from this event. I pray that this is not what happened at the Nyabinde benefit concert.
Some advice for those whose first instinct to raise money is to put on a benefit concert: You really have to be smart so you don’t end up losing money, or don’t end up making money, or spending money that you shouldn’tIt always depends upon what community is available, but you can raise significant money with a cake sale at a school — just as much as you could trying to put on a show.
The other mistake I see is that people don’t realize how much time it takes to produce a show. Even in a local situation, all the stuff that goes into it, sometimes I see people get overwhelmed, and I would caution somebody: be very careful.
Don’t take on something that might be outside of your capabilities or resources, because then you’ll get resentful when it turns into too much foryou to handle.
The keything isto delegate, and get people to give their time and things for free. What people don’t realise when they want to do shows at clubs: venues can’t just give away their venues. If they are personally connected to somebody they may do so.
Some will ask you to pay for the use of electricity, or to pay for the cleaning up bill and still say that they have given you the venue for free. Whatever happened at Theatre in the Park, we hope no such scenario took place and all gate takings went to the Nyabinde’s go fund me project.
To those who could not make it to the concert which was held for a good cause, you still have a chance to make a donation in whatever form of currency suits you the best.
There are many “angel advocates” out there. If you are one of them, Nyabinde still needs your donations. If you can help,please do send your donations to him through his sons as follows:
Zipit, Steward Bank
Account Number 1008352678
Or Ecocash to Albert Nyabinde 0772 704 304
If it’s in USD Nostro at ZB Bank 4556798492501 Aggabu Nyabinde
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