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Zimbabwe mbira queen Chiwoniso Maraire dies
Gonda, SW Radio Africa
July 25, 2013
One of Zimbabwe’s
most talented musicians, Chiwoniso Maraire died at the South Medical
Hospital in Chitungwiza on Wednesday evening. She was 37.
singer, songwriter and proponent of mbira music Chiwoniso crossed
all musical borders inspiring young Zimbabweans to play the mbira
in a more modern and contemporary way.
with various musicians and artistes across the world. As well as
producing several albums she also worked on soundtracks for movies
Above all, she
was a revolutionary mbira player whose music touched the lives of
millions of Zimbabweans. Chiwoniso’s former fiancé
and business colleague, Farai Munro, told SW Radio Africa the singer
had been in hospital for almost two weeks.
throat problem. She had a sore throat and it got worse and worse…
apparently the diagnosis I heard is that she passed away from a
chronic case of pneumonia,” Munro said.
He said ‘Chi’,
as she was affectionately known, was an inspiring and powerful force
within the music fraternity. “Publically as an artist she
should definitely go down in the history books as one of the legendary
talents we have produced, alongside people like Thomas Mapfumo and
He said she
also had a deep social conscience and wasn’t in music just
for the money. “Music for her was her career but she was always
very conscious in her songs. She always made sure there were relevant
social and political messages.”
Munro was in
the middle of recording an album with Chiwoniso, which will be released
next year. He said: “She broke boundaries. She just didn’t
play mbira. She did so many different collaborations from hip-hop
to jazz. There has been an outpouring of tributes for the much-loved
songstress on social forums.
Arts and entertainment
critic Professor Fred Zindi wrote on Facebook: “It is with
a heavy heart and deep sorrow that I received the sad news of mbira
music icon and musician, Chiwoniso Maraire’s death. She died
on the 24th July, 2013 aged 37. Her death has robbed the music fraternity
of a sincere, creative, innovative, serious and dedicated singer
and performer who was instrumental in bringing Zimbabwean music
to a higher level. Words cannot adequately express how I feel about
the loss of such a talented musician and friend as nothing can describe
the sadness and anguish that I am feeling. We offer our sympathy,
prayers and compassion to her family and friends. Gone too soon,
the loss of her life will impact on us forever. Mai Fambai Zvakanaka.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Senegal, wrote on Facebook: “Devastated
Chiwoniso Maraire! Spiritual voice of Zimbabwe we were hoping to
bring her to Dakar Senegal to perform again with her friend &
colleague Baaba Maal this year, to promote our beloved country.
So happy Baaba Maal brought her onto stage HIFA2013 – as though
it was already written.”
Walter Mzembi tweeted: “Very promising and talented sister.
Death is a painful robber. RIP, you wrote your legacy. Till we meet.”
the daughter of the late renowned Zimbabwean mbira player and teacher
Dumisani Maraire. She leaves behind two daughters, Chengeta and
Chiedza, who she had when she was married to legendary Zimbabwean
singer Andy Brown who died last year.
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