Battle of senior lecturer, his two excellent students Nicholas Zakaria, Alick Macheso and Mark Ngwazi

Trust Freddy-Arts Correspondent 

This is a rare spectacle. In the theatre of music, a senior lecturer is about to clash with his two excellent students, who seem to have learnt from him and gone further to perfect the art. 

In the cold month of June, the stage has been set for a triple-header of music titans as Zimbabwe’s Sungura kings Nicholas Zakaria, Alick Macheso and Mark Ngwazi release their highly-anticipated new albums. 

The legion of fans of the genre will be treated to a buffet of music, with each artiste vying for the coveted crown of Zimbabwe’s ultimate Sungura master. 

The three, renowned for their unique styles and captivating performances, will be vying for the top spot, igniting a fierce competition that promises to shake up the scene and leave fans on the edge of their seats. 

Everyone in the genre accepts and recognises that Zakaria is the senior teacher and yet, there is proof that his students have gone beyond his teachings and perfected the art. But this does not discount Zakaria’s rendition in June. He might as well prove that he is still the master or grandmaster of Sungura. 

Following the passing on of Tongai “Dhewa” Moyo, some believed that Alick Macheso’s game had slumped, as Dhewa was a tough competitor who kept Macheso on his toes. 

However, the emergence of Mark Ngwazi as a contender for the Sungura throne has reignited the Sungura genre, arguably bringing it back to the forefront of Zimbabwean music. 

Ngwazi is famed for his rich lyrical content, the steady flow of performance and a shifting tapestry of guitars. He has been known to hold his own and his fan base has grown tremendously.

Adding another layer of intrigue to this unofficial musical clash is Nicholas Zakaria, who is marking 48 years in the music industry this year and, affectionately known as the “Senior Lecturer”, is also slated to release an album in the same month. 

With Zakaria having mentored many Sungura legends, including Macheso, the clash of generations and styles will be fascinating to watch as his former protégés now challenge his status as “Sungura Kingpin”. 

As the albums drop, music lovers and critics alike will be left to debate: who will emerge victorious in this clash of the titans? 

The debate has already erupted on social media over who will wear the crown this year, with fans passionately debating the merits of each artiste and speculating on who will emerge triumphant in this musical showdown. 

In an interview with The Herald Arts yesterday, Mark Ngwazi said he was oiling up his machinery for his upcoming 7th album after close to a two-year album hiatus. 

The album titled, “Huzukwende,” which according to Mark Ngwazi means something delicious, will be launched on June 29 at Padziva in Dzivaresekwa Extension next to Chesa. 

“It’s coincidental that we are all launching our albums in June. 

“I chose to release mine mid-year so fans can enjoy the music throughout without it quickly becoming outdated. Even if you release an album in December, people consider it old by January; they don’t count months,” Ngwazi explained. 

The ”Taurai Madzoka” hitmaker expressed a desire not to be compared to two Sungura legends, saying he was not up for competition. 

“I am just making songs for my fans, so please don’t misquote me. When I previously released my album in the same month as Macheso, there were accusations that I was attempting to outdo him. 

“I am learning for the first time from you that Madzibaba will release the next album in June but I am happy that our fans will have the best Sungura experience.” 

Meanwhile, Macheso will launch his 13th album on June 7 at Alexandra Sports Club, two weeks before Mark Ngwazi’s Album launch. 

When contacted for comment, Macheso’s manager, Tichaona Makahamadze, confirmed that the preparations for the album are at an advanced stage and assured fans that they should prepare themselves for an exhilarating musical experience in the coming months. 

“The month of May will be spent fine-tuning and perfecting our album. We promise to deliver an unforgettable listening experience to our fans,” he said. 

“We are putting a lot of effort into creating something unique. By the end of May, we will have more information about the album, including the number of tracks.” 

When asked if Macheso was concerned about competition from other Sungura musicians, he said: “As Extra Mberikwazvo band, we do not believe in competition and our focus is on our fans. 

“We listen to what our fans want, gather their feedback, and work to meet their expectations. 

“If you notice, we announced our album release date in January and we usually don’t pay much attention to what our rivals are doing.” 

During recent live shows, Macheso previewed beats and vocals from his upcoming project, assuring fans of forthcoming hits. 

“You have heard some of the voices and beats that are going to feature on my upcoming project, you can see that I’m going to come up with hits,” he told The Herald Arts. Macheso, known as Baba Sharo by his legion of fans, has not yet revealed his album’s title and tracks due to concerns about piracy. 

“It’s disheartening to see your work stolen by someone who didn’t contribute financially to record it.” 

Contacted for comment Madzibaba, also revealed that he was busy crafting new tunes and working on his 30th album, which he plans to release in June. 

“I am still in the process of writing, so I have not decided on a final track list, but I am aiming for six tracks. But, by June I will have the perfect title for the album and ready to be released.” 

For Madzibaba, there is no room for jealousy when it comes to his protégés, as he believes that the exchange of knowledge is vital for true brilliance to emerge. 

“I have a strong sense of giving and believe in empowering others through my assistance. I use my whole heart to help those around me, and this is why anyone I assist will remember me. 

“If you look closely, someone’s help, somewhere along the line, contributed to your current abilities. So, whenever you have the opportunity, share your knowledge and pay it forward, just as someone did for you.”

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