Back to Index
Zimbabwe Township Music
View audio file details: Joyce speaks about Sam
Matambo a musician from the City Quards
Cool Crooners are one of the township music legends that are making
waves in Zimbabwe and the world over, thanks to the release of their
debut album Blue Sky released in France by Sony in 2001.
from all walks of life love to see these "young" old guys
in action especially when they sing the song Bulugwe Lami. The
song is about a man who wears tattered trousers with patches and
does not care about what the people say when he moves around.
But very little
is known about these Madalas (old musicians) until now! Zimbabwean
township music lovers can learn more about these Madalas in
the book Zimbabwe Township Music by Joyce Jenje-Makwenda. The book
is a must have for those who want to know all about Zimbabwean township
music, it’s influences, the history of recording and popular musicians
and bands. Zimbabwe Township Music covers the period 1930 - 2004
and is edited by Gibson Mandishona who is described by Pius Wakatama
as "an illustrious son of Mbare".
grew up in Mbare, one of Zimbabwe’s oldest townships. Mbare is home
to the Mai Musodzi, a venue that helped launch the careers of numerous
township musicians including Dorothy Masuka, Evelyn and Simon Juba,
Simangaliso Tutani and Jonah Marumahoko. Another township that acted
as a launch pad for musicians is Makokoba in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s
second largest city. Makokoba is the township behind great names
such as the City Quads, Merry Makers, De Black Evening Follies,
Golden Rhythm Crooners and the Cool Four.
Jenje–Makwenda grew up listening to rock music her father listened
to artists like Louis Armstrong. For Joyce, this type of music was
hard to understand but as her father continued to flood the house
with jazz she began to appreciate this genre of music.
falling in love with jazz, Joyce began tracking its roots between
1930-1960. To help her do this, her father would give her an address
of a township jazz musician and she would go and chat with them
to get more information. From one musician to another Joyce kept
on researching and documenting the history and transition of township
music. In her early days Joyce funded her research and documentation
from the sale of cakes and scones. But after giving lectures in
Sweden about Zimbabwe township music Joyce was offered funding to
continue her research. According to the author the objective of
the research was "to better understand the entertainment culture
of the earlier generation in urban Zimbabwe". The years of
research that Joyce undertook resulted in her writing the book,
Zimbabwe Township Music. In addition she has produced and directed
a documentary on the history of music in Zimbabwe. The film received
special mention at the Southern African Film Festival in 1993.
Joyce has also
been involved in a number of other projects, which include research
for a BBC Radio Program on "Township Jazz of the 50’s"
as well as directing "Namibia Special" a film by SADC
filmmakers on Namibia. The film was produced by the Nordic SADC
Journalism Centre and The Finnish Broadcast – 1997.
is a lecturer at the Zimbabwe College of Music and has a number
of projects on the drawing board.
Dr Herbert Murerwa,
the current Zimbabwean Finance Minister who also grew up in Mbare
wrote the book’s foreword. He says: "Joyce’s book is a challenge
for today’s youth; to expand and further develop our understanding
of Zimbabwe’s musical legacy". He suggests that it is essential
reading for enthusiasts of Zimbabwe Township Music.
music promoters such as Penny Yon, Jackie Cahi, Irene Gwaze and
Sam Mataure amongst others are featured in Zimbabwe Township Music,
which has some great pictures that revive the good old days of jazz.
For more information
on the book and video, Zimbabwe Township Music visit Joyce’s website
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.