By Robert Mukondiwa, Sindiso Dube and Bruce Ndlovu
Sulumani Chimbetu is indeed a silly young adult. And that is putting it very leniently and lightly! Events of the past year are more than testament to that. As a fact, no doubt. It is a painful realisation; the fact that while he is a very talented person, his star has failed to shine as bright as it could because of happenings outside of the studio where he is expected to give his best and please his haemorrhaging number of fans.
He is losing them by the bucketful. If he were to sit for the bar exam, that exam prospective lawyers take before they are allowed to practise, Sulumani would probably ace that exam and pass with flying colours. By now, he must be a guru in all things law.
He has been spending more time in the courts than he has been in the studio and must now know most tongue twisting judicial terms; locus standi, ab inito, res judicata, pro se, nolo contendere. Perhaps, one could argue with Sulu’s numerous court visits in mind, he knows these terms even more than people who have been on the bench for decades.
His protracted battles with his erstwhile wife Marygold Mutemasango have distracted him and they are over silly little things that he could and should have avoided before washing his ample dirty linen in public. So large was that consignment of dirty linen that he must have needed a whole lot of detergent. Yet a combination of boyish, impressionable oozing libido, a string of children, a unique breed of arrogance and big-headedness all came together to get him in this mess.
Singing with his hands in his pockets to irk Dunstable fans in the UK in 2012 right down to not reinventing himself; still using a blue-tooth phone earpiece in the modern age with many in the new generation actually thinking he wears a sixteen dollar wireless in-the-canal hearing aid and that he is hard of hearing shows that he needs reinvention and regrowth.
The frontman for Alpha-Omega ice-cream’s life is nowhere as sweet as a dairy product. It has soured. And while he was the poster child for good music with scorchers such as “Sean Timba”, “Nhambarakishoni”, “Njiva” and “Non Stop”, he has now been eclipsed by people with lesser song-writing skills including his erstwhile mate Jah Prayzah, with whom he now has a Cold War, albeit one they would be quick to deny exists.
Captain Sulu who had made every city and small town his hunting ground has stopped performing outside the capital, which could be a process of starting afresh. Dendera lovers from Karoi’s Dungane Farm could be the most hard done by Sulu’s hiatus, they are probably looking for him in the same manner they looked for Alice Mbewe’s daughter who got lost in the crowds in 2016.
Now, it is not Alice Mbewe’s child that is lost, but Sulu’s career that is lost in the courtrooms of Harare’s Maintenance Court circuit. Before he was in court he spent considerable time between the sheets, which is why alimony cases now stalk him. It is simple social mathematics; have a lot of children and you will have a lot of maintenance to pay.
Fortunately the magistrate has found to his favour that Zimbabwe is a tough economic environment and hence he had his alimony cut in half. Good for him! And also a good message to lazy bums like Marygold who think making babies with reasonably wealthy people is all one needs to do to get through this life; she has to pay for the kids as well because she has half the responsibilities of their raising on her shoulders.
Her surname may be Mutemasango, but Sulu is not a forest that she should cut to the ground simply because she is lazy to make a living for herself and her children. Marriage is not a diamond mine in Chiadzwa. Child bearing is a responsibility for two people! Hopefully she will start looking for a job and knows that following music shows, ‘maband’, spending maintenance money on booze and joy is not a profession!
Now Sulu can breathe and get back into the studio. The place where he belongs. And he should get down to writing and producing the great music that we know him for producing. And he needs good friends who should teach him to be humble and not big headed. If need be, the hydrocephalus equivalent of ego needs to be drained from his head to return it to its original size.
Death is an unfair thing, it robs us of amazing talent in music. But Sulu should never be let to make anything other than death steal him from us and the fans. He is an immensely gifted music god. He needs to write well again and go back into the pantheon of music gods and start pleasing the masses.
Already he has said he will not be releasing a Christmas album, pushing back the release of music that he had meant to release this year. No doubt his court appearances are responsible for a large chunk of him having to change the release dates. The hope is that soon; very soon, we will see the return of Sulumani the high riding airman. And we will see the last of Sillymani, the naughty knave who spends too much in the courtrooms!