Dancing to grandmother’s music selection

Fadzayi Maposah Correspondent

Leonard Dembo is a Zimbabwean music artiste who excelled in his work.

He did well such that one of his songs Chitekete was played at an international pageant as it was played at the 1996 Miss World beauty pageant held in Namibia.

Another history maker for Zimbabwe.

The songs from yesteryear were long. This one “Chitekete” is almost 15 minutes long.

One can have it play through while preparing sadza. The song will end when the Sadza is also ready for serving.

There are some segments of the song that have lyrics and at some points it is just lyrics.

The song is truly a well written love story.

Literally translated to: “Look at this beautiful flower, Chitekete for mum and dad now they cannot sleep thinking about you Chitekete. Look at this beautiful flower, Chitekete, you have given me a burden, now I cannot think nor sleep.

“Where you are, there is a spider web, there are pricking thorns, but since I have no shoes, how am I going to take you. I do not know what to do, I do not know how to pull.

“There is nothing I can offer, just to be with you. Oooh where can I get the power for you to be mine? Oooh where can I get the power? I love that girl.

Ooh where can I get the power to marry her? So she becomes my mother`s daughter in daughter, a daughter in law for my mother. Respect my mother`s daughter in law….

These are almost all the words in the nearly quarter of an hour song! This is one of the songs that I danced to when I was still young.

When it was a hit I was already an adult. As one grows older the way he or she looks at life and issues tends to change. Life is lived forwards yet understood backwards.

I was on one of my many journeys when this song was played. Most of the people on the public transport were grown-ups and the song took them down memory lane.

One can never know what was in the memory lanes that people journeyed along. In the commuter omnibus as the song played, people were transported to certain places in time. Some people got off while the song was still to get to its climax and they were in their own worlds.

The conductor joked that they could stay in the omnibus and then get off when the song which had brought so much memories had ended! Some passengers wanted to know where such a young crew had obtained “mature music” that was beyond their years.

All the conductor could do was to laugh out aloud and say that the passengers would miss out on the beautiful lyrics while focusing on the minors.

Then everyone was quiet, each individual in their own world taking the lyrics slowly in. For those who travel often in commuter omnibuses, you will know that commuter omnibus staff can be either nice or rude.

I have never met a crew that can be termed middle of the road. They only belong to extremes.

After my “Chitekete” moments, I got home still singing my favourite part of the song:

I had an opportunity to talk about reducing the severity of period pains to a group of young girls. I talked of the importance of consistent exercise.

When there was attempted diversion from the main issue at hand by asking how long the exercise should be, I suggested real dancing.

There was much interest. I asked the young girls if we could have a try out session but I would be the one to choose the song.

They agreed begrudgingly. The colour of my hair which is not tinted seemed to be telling them that they should prepare for dancing to grandmother`s selection.

When I talked about the song, they were excited to dance to a song that had been to Miss World. So they got up eagerly and quickly formed a big circle, ready to dance and exercise.

Then I played the song. Disappointed faces, when the song started. I paused the song and encouraged them to at least give the song a chance and find out why it had been to the Miss World pageant. They agreed but some of them were not convinced that with my grey hair I could choose a song that could appeal to them.

When I started cheering them to dance, some just shook their bodies slowly and did not want to be swept away by the song. I mentioned that it was played at Miss World. Still they seemed not interested. Then a few girls said they were just going to enjoy themselves with a real throwback from the past and have a few dances for the older generations from their families.

When the song got to my favourite part, the circle was on fire dancing to drive the period pains away. Then there were questions as to why the song was not coming to an end, I just encouraged them to continue. So the song from yesteryear was blended with “Ama 2000” dance and the quest to fight period pain! Turn up the volume, dance, exercise even if it is grandmother`s selection. Keep period pains away!

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