Secret behind Albert Nyathi’s moustache

Lifestyle Reporter 

Dub poet Albert Nyathi is no doubt a revered cultural icon who has toured the globe extensively.

His trophy cabinet is laden with gongs and medals he has been winning everywhere.

Hanging on the walls of his study room are certificates of excellence and merit he scooped both locally and internationally.

However, there are two things Nyathi believes he can’t do and live without – a moustache and amabheshu (animal skins).

Of the two, Nyathi claims moustache defines him.

He has been keeping a moustache for over three years.

Research has shown that moustache is a representation of a man’s virility.

At the same time, moustache has been used to characterise the personality of the man wearing it. 

It has also been a part of manhood since the beginning of time dating back to 300 BC.

In some cases, it has been associated with vigour, health, sturdiness, and constitution, especially in the fathering of children.

But what is Nyathi’s take on his moustache, which he has been keeping for quite a long time?

Is there a secret behind it? Can one persuade him to shave it?

“The secret behind my moustache is that it is my trademark,” he says.

“There are two trademarks of mine – amabhechu (animal skins) that I wear during special events and my moustache – that is what people identify me with.

“Those two identify with me. I’m not sure I can live without a moustache, that will be difficult because it wouldn’t be me. I would not look like myself without it.”

Growing up, the decorated writer and poet, says he has always wanted to wear a moustache at some point.

He thought it was just a dream but it later became his trademark.

“I have kept my moustache since my school days. I think there were a few moments when I was at school when I removed the moustache but most of the time, I was wearing it. I have had a moustache for over 30 years,” he says.

Nyathi says he once had a torrid after removing moustache during one of his international tours.

“I removed it once when I was on a tour of England much to the surprise of my band members.

“Everything looked queer to them when I appeared on stage as the band was not used to.

“It was in the early 2000s when I wanted to see how I looked without it so I had to shave.

“The major challenge I had was that the band was always in stitches each time they looked at me. Band members would laugh uncontrollably so I thought they were losing it now or high on something.

“What surprised me is that we don’t take drugs as a band or alcohol on stage before the show. 

“Initially, I was surprised when they looked at me on stage. I did it once in England,” he says.

After England experience, Nyathi says it would be hard to convince him to shave his moustache.

“I have never thought of removing my moustache. The only thought that came to me was that I can do so only if it’s a charitable event that would raise money.

“For instance, if a company says we want you to remove your moustache maybe to raise funds for either cervical cancer day or prostate day, that organisation would pay big money for that cause. I can remove it.”

With the first half of the year three months away, Nyathi says he doesn’t have much this year.

“I am going to attend a few activities with Derreck Mpofu this year.

“I’m going to the Czech Republic in June and in September I will travel to the United States of America. That’s all I have on my sleeve this year.” 

Reflecting on some of his achievements which he attained through his global tours, Nyathi reckons still cherishes these moments.

“Some of the achievements not shared in the Press are quite a lot.

“I performed for Nelson Mandela, I had a show in Hawaii representing Africa.

“I also performed at the Millennium Young People’s Conference in 1999 organised by the United Nations with the band Imbongi, I think that has been written about. 

“Another big occasion was me working with children, creating poetry against racing in football at Stamford Bridge through an invitation by Chelsea Football Club and Kick it Out Magazine. I have had multiple of them.”

A close ally of US-based Lovemore Majaivana, Nyathi says they have a special bond which is unbreakable.

“Majiavana is my muzukulu so we are always in touch touch. We are always in touch. Any time I feel like talking to him I always call and chat with him.”

Since he is set to tour the US in September, he did rule out a possibility of a collaboration between the two.

 I think we might just come up with something but what it is I don’t know.

“Whether it’s a song or a couple of songs, I don’t know but that will be a surprise. I will keep my mouth shut. I will also hear if people want something, it will be done.

As he reflects on a number of achievements he attained during his international tour, Nyathi insists that he won’t drop his two trademarks – moustache and amabheshu.

To him, a moustache defines him and he is not prepared to shave it anytime soon unless big money is offered.

As strange as it may sound, there are some unique features on people which give them courage and strength in their professions.

For Nyathi, he only revealed to us that it was a moustache.

Like the biblical Samson who lost his power after revealing to Delilah that it came from the hair, it is our hope that Nyathi won’t lose his mojo after his revelation.

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