THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

Interview with band Mokoomba: You can't run away from being what you are
Zanele Manhenga,
July 14, 2009

View audio file details

This is an Inzwa feature. Find out more

The band MokoombaThe band Mokoomba is billed "The Next Generation of Zimbabwean Hope" in recognition of their story of diversity and perseverance: they come from one of Zimbabwe's smallest rural villages and sing in Tonga, a language foreign to even the majority of Zimbabweans. -

Mokoomba is . . .

Trustworth Samende - Guitar & Backing vocals
Mathias Muzaza - Lead vocal & Percussion
Donald Moyo - Keyboard & Backing Vocals
Abundance Mutori - Bass Guitar
Costa Ndaba Moyo - Drums
Mithi Mugande - Percussion & Backing vocals



How is life at the Zimbabwe Crossroads Centre in Hatfield?
It is brilliant though far from home.

Are you in contact with your families?
We contact them everyday; we have not lost contact with families.

To the married guys - how are you ensuring that your marriages stay alive?
We assure our wives that we hard at work so that we can support them. They are secure and are not worried as we talk to them on a daily basis.

What does the name Mokoomba mean?
Mokoomba means the vibrant life that the Zambezi River gives to the baTonga people and their culture.

How did you come together to form the band
We stay in the same hood, so we knew each other before we started the band so it was easy for us to come together and form a group. When we heard about the Zimbabwe Crossroads we decided to go as a team.

What was your prize?
The prize was a European tour.

As bread winners in Zimbabwe how has life been for you?
Its very difficult coz there is no money; we just do the shows because we want to build a name.

Do you as males get preference as opposed to female artists?
I don't think it has anything to do with male or female. If you are playing something nice music people will like your music. It is about what you give the people.

What genre is your music?
Afro fusion of Tonga music that has a Zambian groove mixing it with a Zimbabwean feel and a bit of a Spanish feel.

What is the theme of your music?
We sing about HIV and AIDS. Most of our music is about teaching people about diseases.

What is your greatest fear as musicians?
I think the worst that would happen to Mokoomba would be to separate and the other thing is that musicians in Zimbabwe do not have insurance. The government should ensure that the arts people should have insurance so that they can live off their money as a musician even if they can no longer do music. Listen

How often do you perform and where?
At the Book Café in Harare every Tuesday.

How do you handle the pressure of being musicians?
There is no pressure if you know what you are doing. So when you are playing you will not be afraid coz you are playing something that you like, that you sure of, that you believe in and you are good at. Listen

What advice would you give other upcoming artists that want to start a band?
They should have confidence in what they are doing and have confidence about the music that they do. Practice, and listen to other people and then come with your own groove. Listen

What advice would you give the fans?
Things are difficult but in everything you do you must put God first. And whatever you start working on you must finish it and don't give up.

What is the catch factor about Mokoomba?
Mokoomba has a different style. We are trying to show people that there is that part of Zimbabwe that can shine. We want to show that Zimbabwe does not have mbira music only but Tonga music can also be explored and we sing in a lot of languages.

Is it worth it to be in the music industry?
Yes it is. You can't run away from being what you are; you just have to push until it's all right.

What would you change in the music industry given the chance?
The Zim style people want to follow mbira music, Thomas Mapfumo and Oliver Mtukudzi.thats why we are trying to introduce this music so that people don't think that mbira music is the only one in Zimbabwe.

Do you think promoters and producers are doing theirs jobs?
I think they are not doing their jobs and I think I will put the blame on the government that does not look out for the arts industry. And promoters still push artists that are already established and not upcoming musicians in the country.

Who is who in the band?
Matthias and Trust come up with the basic structure of the songs. The rule is that if one of us comes with an idea the whole band now owns it.

Why where you denied visas to your European tour?
We don't know what happened there because there are people who deal with that .We were delayed; the embassies said it was now too late for the visas to be processed. Partly because we are Zimbabweans, but we are surprised because the group that came second managed to go on their tour.

Audio File

  • No insurance for musicians
    Language: Ndebele & English
    Duration: 34sec
    Date: July 14, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 545KB

  • No pressure
    Language: Ndebele & English
    Duration: 29sec
    Date: July 14, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 463KB

  • Have confidence
    Language: Ndebele & English
    Duration: 19sec
    Date: July 14, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 299KB

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.