Wellington Kudiwa Entertainment Reporter
The medium-density suburb of Cranborne Park is familiar to many Zimbabweans for its Zimbabwe National Army bases such as 1 Commando and 2 Brigade.
Among the youths, some find it familiar as it is home to Cranborne Boys High School, a school that is known in the country for its late 1980 riots that saw hundreds of students taking to the streets in the capital Harare in protest of the ever rising school fees.
What is little known is that Cranborne Park is also the home of some of the finest talent in the entertainment industry. To begin with, the history of Zimbabwean comedy cannot be complete without mention of Safirio ‘‘Mukadota’’ Madzikatire who popularised the “Mhuri yavaMakore” sitcom better known as the “Mukadota Family”.
Besides featuring in the “Mukadota” drama, the late Mukadota was an accomplished musician who teamed up with Elizabeth ‘‘Katarina’’ Taderera to churn out a string of hits that included ‘‘PaHunyani’’, ‘‘Usandisiye’’ and ‘‘Neshungu’’.
As they say, like father like son, Elijah Madzikatire is the other resident from Cranborne Park who has made it big in the arts industry. He is known by many as ‘‘Bhero Mukadota’’ the comedian, actor and musician. He featured on numerous local dramas and movies which include ‘‘Everyone’s Child’’ and ‘‘Bhero Mukadota’’, a television comedy series.
Elijah is also quite popular for his ‘‘Vana Tinogumbura’’ and ‘‘Gukurahundi’’ tracks. Elijah’s son, Solomon Madzikatire, is also a talented musician in his own right.
Another Zimbabwean legend to have connections with Cranborne Park is James Chimombe. He released dozens of hit songs that put him on the music map such as ‘‘Jemedza’’, ‘‘Cecilia’’, ‘‘Zvaitika’’, ‘‘Kudakwashe’’ and ‘‘Chawana Mumwe’’ which won him the hearts of many Zimbabwean music lovers.
Another great entertainer from Cranborne Park was Andy Brown. The late guitarist is arguably one of the most gifted guitar players the country has produced and remains an icon years after his death. Nicknamed ‘‘Muzukuru’’, Andy Brown established himself as one of Zimbabwe’s greatest musicians with his songs such as ‘‘Mapurisa’’, ‘‘Tichanoshaina’’, ‘‘Senzeni’’, ‘‘Mawere Kongonya’’, ‘‘Tongogara’’ and ‘‘Paradzai Wauya’’.
John Muyambo is another entertainment guru toset up home in the suburb. Mutare-born Muyambo gained fame for his role as ‘‘Chibhodhoro’’ in the Mukadota legacy and performed shows with Madzikatire’s band as a drummer. He retains his brand name ‘‘Chibhodhoro’’ from the show and is still one of the most sought after session musicians in the country. He has played with many of the big names in the in- dustry.
Yet another musician linked to the suburb is Tobias Areketa. Areketa, who died tragically young, is well known in Zimbabwe for his hit songs ‘‘Sure Munotadza’’ and ‘‘Baba naMai’’ which got much airplay on radio and were made theme songs for a number of television dramas.
Radio personality Eric Knight is another notable showbiz professional from the suburb. Before entering the political arena where his star has dimmed, the former radio and TV personality was a brand name in the country. He featured on the legendary music video show ‘‘Mutiminhira weMumhanzi/Ezomgido’’.
Former Cranborne Boys High teacher Emmanuel Mbirimi is the other senior entertainer from Cranborne Park. He featured on a number of Zimbabwean made movies and dramas that include ‘‘Neria’’, one of Zimbabwe’s most recognised movies. In the movie, he plays the role of Patrick, Neria’s husband. He is a postman and gets run over by a car leaving Neria a widow.
The list of Cranborne’s stars is difficult to exhaust with more illustrious names like Bongo Muffin’s Apple Seed, Dino Mudondo of the rasta-kwasa fame, Cynthia Mare, Nadine Brown, Real Sounds of Africa, Baltimore Mudepi of the Onai fame among others.