Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Arts Reporter
They were a formidable duo with dovetailing charisma that made them a perfect match which seemed to have been naturally twinned for the small screen.
With flawless and enlightening presentations that sailed with amazing splendour, Tinevimbo Chimbetete and Makanaka Wakatama lightened up Star Kidz on ZTV.
They were young, confident, eloquent and energetic. They literally shook the television scene. They wrote a piece of history that will forever be colourful.
It seemed their career path had been sealed. Who thought Tinevimbo and Makanaka would divert to other fields as they grew into adulthood? They seemed destined to be together on the screen for life.
The combination was just too good to allow other imaginations about their future away from the screen. Their young followers idolised the childhood stars and many were actually inspired to follow their path on the screen.
However, Tinevimbo and Makanaka were not going to be together on the screen forever. Fate had other landing spots in life for them. But the history they made will be read for generations. Their story will be told for many years and today is another day for that tale.
Today we tell the story of Tinevimbo who is now 29 years old. Many years after Star Kidz, people still want to hear from him. And he is ever cheerful to tell his story. It is an unfolding journey on the arts terrain and the young man seems to be enjoying every step.
While Makanaka went on to have a life that was closely followed by the media, Tinevimbo somehow went into a shell and did many of his projects behind the scenes. He then took a few roles in acting before expanding his artistic reach to music.
It has been a shuttle between the screen and the studio. Let the talented Tinevimbo tell his story.
“I got into the arts sector at a tender age because of inspiration from my late brother Moses. Moses was the second born in our family and he used to hang around with musicians and celebrities who include the late Chiwoniso Maraire and Andy Brown,” Tinevimbo recalls.
“My brother Jack (third born) is also into art and we run a production company together that does adverts, documentaries and television shows. He is now based in the United States and is fully supportive of my career in acting and music.”
Unlike most people that end up in careers they never dreamt of, Tinevimbo knew what he wanted to do when he was six years old. He wanted to be an artist.
“When I was six years old, I joined Children Performing Arts Workshop (CHIPAWO) as a dancer. My mother was a teacher at Blakiston Primary School during that time.
“I am a CHIPAWO product. I feel I might have been a different person if I was not introduced to art world at such a young age,” said Tinevimbo.
So, how did he cross from the dance floor to the screen when he was still that young? Life must have started on a fast lane for the boy and fame seemed guaranteed from the beginning.
“The guy who created Kidznet was Daniel Sango and he was the man who had helped me create one set for CHIPAWO media. He discovered me while I was rehearsing together with Simba Jenje at Chipawo as we did auditions for a news bulletin show for the organisation. He called me up to come to ZBC and that’s how I got the slot and I did Star Kidz for four years,” he explained.
Many should have thought Tinevimbo and Makanaka had worked together before Star Kidz and nurtured their combination well before the show. Star Kidz was their first show together. It was a matter of automatic connection.
The connection also excited Tinevimbo so much and he would eagerly wait for the weekend to be on set with his perfect match.
“The boss of the show was Paul Gama (producer) who always picked me and Makanaka from home every Sunday with his personal car. He believed in us. Our script during that time was a guideline and we got it during the week. I would memorise it at home with help from my family. It came naturally and I would find a way to make it funny. We were good friends with Makanaka,” he said.
“I miss that show very much. I had favourite people at ZBC who include Lisa Nyatanga and Sandra Mazunga. Nyatanga was our handler as she could relate with us very well because she was young.”
They became stars before they knew it. They turned heads on the streets. They were celebrities in their neighbourhoods and schools.
Tinevimbo said at that time he admired United States hip-hop singer Lil Wayne and he knew Star Kidz had opened a good path for him. He wanted to do music one day and be popular like his American idol.
“I loved Lil Wayne and that was the time he was at peak and I would try dress like him. His appearance and energy motivated me.”
However, the young man says things are no longer the same on local scene.
“Locally I feel like there are few productions going on. When they started Kidznet, they had the passion and the zeal from the set to final production. Now it is more of a hurried production and it pains me. The quality of presenters need skills, training and direction.”
But he is happy with his professional progress.
“In my career so far I am not facing any challenges. I am always travelling and I am doing photography, media and music. I am also in philanthropic work. I would love to meet David Chappelle. I am a hip-hop rapper now and I am working on my forthcoming release. I usually get jobs to make cameo roles in some productions, but I put my music first,” he said.
In hip-hop circles he is known as Tulk Munny.
He released his debut album titled “Chepa Jecha” in 2016, which announced his arrival in that scene well.
In 2017, he released another album with award-winning producer Take Fizzo titled “Gwanda Rulez”. Currently, he is working on his next project and spends most of his time in studio in Waterfalls.
Tinevimbo now stays alone in Avondale where he is making life as his own man.
“I always go back to spend time with family in Mabelreign. I love chicken gizzards. I also like madora and rice with peanut butter. My diet is nothing fancy and since I have moved out from my family house, I do not have much time to prepare food. I don’t fancy junk food. I drink lots of water too and I am an addict of caffeine.”
Born in September, 1990 in Harare as the last born in a family of four children, Tinevimbo attended Blakiston Primary and St Johns Emerald Hill School.
He says his good family background gave him access to many things he needed as he grew up and he is happy with what he has so far pocketed in his professional purse.