Twists, turns of Ngosimbi Crew

PAGE 2 NEWTawanda Marwizi Arts Correspondent —
Ngosimbi Crew became a household name after releasing a number of hit songs that include “Auntie Rhodha”, “Pamuchato WaTobias” and “Chitima Nditakure” among others.

It was unfortunate that their band leader Admire Kasenga died at the peak of their career and other founding members have been struggling to keep the name alive.

Squabbles over the name and leadership also played a part in shaking the Ngosimbi ship after Kasenga’s demise.

The group’s journey is a tale of turns and twists.

Year 1992, marked the formation of the group that was led by Timothy Gunde who is also late. That time they were doubling as resident band and workers at Club Madzeka in Mutoko.

A year later, under the leadership of Gunde the group released their debut album “Ma Sweet 16”.

They were unfortunate that Gunde who was a bass guitarist and lead vocalist fell ill and died. In an interview this week, one of the founding members Sam Mabukwa said that time Club Madzeka owners advertised the vacant post in The Herald.

“Admire Kasenga who was with another group phoned Madzeka and he was invited. He played lead guitar and because he was older than us, he was tasked to be the leader,” he said.

In 1994 under Kasenga, the group recorded the album “Zino Irema” that got airplay but could not convince many Zimbabweans that the group had a slot in top spots of music.

They recorded another album “Auntie Rhoda” that same year, but could not release it. Two years later they released the album that made them a house-hold name, selling thousands of copies.

Though they decided to leave Club Madzeka in 1995, it was not rosy for the crew that went to stay at their manager’s house in Kuwadzana.

Kasenga – who was the only one married by then – had the privilege of having his room while Mabuka, his cousin Chomi and Denford Sada shared one room.

“We recorded another album “Njere” in 1998 but it did not yield much results,” said Mabuka.

1999 was their year of major breakthrough after releasing “Pafunge” that had song “Pamuchato waTobbias”.

“We sold thousands of copies and that time we got a lot of money that enabled us to buy PA system as well as a truck for the band,” he added.

They released “Dzimurai Moto” the following year and that was another hit.

Kasenga had problems with his first wife and they divorced. He married his second wife that same year.

He recounts how Kasenga told him that he suspected people were using juju on him. Another album “Chitima Nditakure” sold thousands of copies but the band members got little from the money.

“We went to Gramma Records to enquire if that was the money we got. We were shocked to see that Kasenga had collected more than $175 000. He was called to the stable and questioned. Other band members got their money but he said I was leading a revolt in the camp,” he said.

A year later they released “Dzidzai”, but due to Kasenga’s ill health it was poorly done. In 2004 the lyricist passed on. The remaining members have been involved in fights with the musician’s wife who at one point stopped Mabukwa from using the group’s name.

“We are not stopping despite her attempts to stop us from using the name Ngosimbi Crew,” vowed Mabukwa.

“We will continue as Ngosimbi Crew and we are doing all we can to keep the group alive.”

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