Brenda Phiri Entertainment Reporter
They say all good things come to those who wait. This aptly applies to Zimbabwe Original Rhythms of Africa (Zora) exponent, Leonard Zhakata, who, like the proverbial cat has nine lives.
He has been in and out of the music limelight for a number of reasons.
It is safe to say his music career had been in tatters only until now.
The “Mugove” hitmaker once dominated the music charts with his top selling albums, “Maruva Enyika, “Nzombe Huru” and “Vagoni Vebasa”, which apart from their popular tracks, were also accompanied by hot videos.
The videos in turn won him titles like the best artiste of the year on ZTV on numerous occasions.
But in the last few years, Zhakata decided to experiment with his beat by introducing the Zora brand. His fan base dwindled upon feeling that he had ditched his fast-paced and danceable type of music in preference to the laid back music he now plays.
Years went by with Zhakata being described as a spent force.
About four years ago, the gifted lyricist and composer tried to make a comeback following the release of his album, “Gotwe – Last Born”, but unfortunately, it could not live up to the standards that he had set with his previous releases.
In 2014, he joined Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa’s UFI ministry at the same time he also released a new album, “Zvangu Zvaita”.
That was about a year ago and the album received ample airplay on most of the local radio stations. This shows he had improved drastically. Whether it was the hand of God at work, no one knows, but the truth is that Zhakata is one of Zimbabwe’s most hard-working musicians.
This trait was recently rewarded when the singer caused a major stir at a music charts countdown at the end of the year.
Two of his songs, “Dhonza Makomborero” and “Dollar Boy” were adjudged the best two songs emerging on pole and second positions respectively on Coca-Cola Radio Zimbabwe Top 50, ahead of other listener’s favourites, Jah Prayzah and Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave.
This come-back proved that one can become popular today, lose the popularity and then regain the former glory only if they are resilient and committed to their art.
The same has happened to some of Zimbabwe’s leading musicians like Oliver Mtukudzi, Cephas Mashakada, among others, whose careers at one time took a nose-dive only for them to restrategise and come up with new compositions that went beyond songs like “Chirimupoto”, which the majority of music lovers felt were not up to scratch.
It should also be noted that Fungisai, who also figured in the top five at the Radio Zimbabwe charts – also rebounded from near oblivion with her song “Gore Rapera” off her 2014 album.
Zhakata’s story should be an example to other artistes that the world does not end with the flops they might experience today.
Rather, they should use these failures as stepping stones to greater things in future.
Born in 1968, Zhakata rose to prominence in the early 1990s together with his cousin Thomas Makion who is now late.
They led the group Maungwe Brothers, whose hit songs “Tungidza Gwenya” among others, made them instant hits.
They later on went solo and Zhakata hit it big with hit songs like “Hupenyu Mutoro”, “Batai Mazwi, “Gomba Remarara” and“Maruva Enyika”, among others.