LEGENDARY sungura singer and Khiama Boys frontman Nicholas “Madzibaba” Zakaria (pictured) has bemoaned the state of the country’s economy which he says continues to hinder his efforts to set up the Nicholas Zakaria Arts Centre in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza which will identify, nurture and develop talent.
With his vast experience in the music industry and a big heart to mentor up-and-coming artistes wishing to make a breakthrough in the cut-throat music industry, Madzibaba, who is also known as Senior Lecturer, is using his residence, which is not spacious and convenient, as a temporary base while he patiently awaits the construction of the arts centre.
In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style on the sidelines of the launch of the video of his hit song Zomvelamvela on Friday in the capital, the sungura godfather said he was open to partnerships to fulfil his dream to set up the arts centre that would be a platform for artistes to share ideas.
“As I love to nurture and develop youthful talent in the creative sector, I am still and remain hopeful that one day, I will be able to start the construction of the Nicholas Zakaria Arts Centre in Chitungwiza. I am there to help them (youthful talent) and this will be our main reason for the establishment of this arts centre,” he said.
“Financial constraints have been the major drawback to kickstart this project, which I believe will be able to benefit more in the arts and culture sector. As we are open for partnerships, we are calling for individuals, the corporate world and even the government to support and help in the mobilising of resources for the construction of this arts centre.”
In his career which spans for over two decades, Madzibaba is credited for assisting a number of notable names in the music industry both seasoned and up-and-coming among them Alick Macheso, the late System Tazvida and Simon Mutambi to fully exploit their talent.
Meanwhile, as a way of re-strategising to take his music beyond the borders, Madzibaba has produced the video of his yester-year Chewa hit song Zomvelamvela, off his ninth album Yeuchidzo released after he parted ways with fellow sungura ace Macheso, about 22 years ago.
The Mabvi Nemagokora hitmaker said it was a dream come true as he had always craved to add some visuals to Zomvelamvela, a song he claims has a regional appeal and was optimistic that the video would be received well.
“My wishes has been fulfilled. I decided to do the video of the song Zomvelamvela taking into consideration that the Chewa language I used on the song is easily understood in Malawi were I come from, in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia, which gives us an advantage as we seek to penetrate the regional market,” he said.
“We have been failing to go beyond the borders due to the quality of our videos. Many thanks to a friend who shared the same vision with me and pledged to foot all the shooting expenses for this high quality video, which could have cost me about US$800 in production,” he said.
Speakers at the launch, among them music promoter Partson “Chipaz” Chimbodza, Trend Zone Designer Wear founder Florence Rupapa, who dressed Madzibaba for the event, sungura singer Simon Mutambi and Wezhaz Executive Cars chief executive officer Exevia Maoneke, described Madzibaba as a humble music legend who is a role model not only to those in the creative sector.
As a way of appreciating Madzibaba’s efforts, Rupapa was the highest bidder during an auction of the videos as she paid US$500 for it, while Chimbodza paid US$200 with Maoneke and Esteem Communications paying US$100 and US$50, respectively.
Off the stage, the soft-spoken Madzibaba, who has won the hearts of many music followers, is involved in advocacy work in the fight against gender-based violence.