Senior Arts Reporter
Namibia-based Zimbabwean tour guide and musician Lesley Mukwacha who has failed to return back to work due to the Covid-19 lockdown is using the time to focus on music while waiting for normalcy to return.
Mukwacha, who uses his first name in the music circles, is basking in glory after releasing his latest video about love, “Mudiwemoyo” which he says was dedicated to those who have failed to marry their loved ones for too long due to unknown forces.
In an interview, Lesley said he did not regret coming to Zimbabwe and being affected by the lockdown, but was using the time to appreciate the arts and spend time with family.
“For the past 15 years I have been living mostly in Windhoek, Namibia and Cape Town, working as a lead tour guide.
“I came back in February last year for a two-week break, and I couldn’t go back because of the lockdown.
“I don’t regret that decision because, so far, I have found myself back in the studio, perfecting my guitar-playing skills and writing songs,” he said.
Lesley was confident that he would go back to work and was still in touch with his employers.
“It is tricky now, there is no hope of going back to work soon, especially with this pandemic shooting up in Europe and the US because 90 percent of our clients come from that side. For now, let me push my music as it is the only other thing I can do,” he said.
Lesley feels that his place in music, especially the sungura genre, gives relevance considering there is less competition.
“The reason I have decided to go full time into music is that I feel in Zimbabwe we no longer have strong bands after the death of legends like Leonard Dembo, System Tazvida, James Chimombe, Marshall Munhumumwe and Oliver Mtukudzi.
“There is no competition anymore, no variety in music as everyone is trying to sound like our living legend, Alick Macheso,” he said.
He said his biggest wish is to curtain raise for Macheso and have a collaboration with him.
“I love the work of Alick Macheso, and I also look forward to working with the likes of Peter Moyo because the young man’s charisma matches that of his late father (Tongai Moyo). I could watch him perform all night and if I get the opportunity, I would like to collaborate with him,” he said.
Lesley said his talent was discovered in 1996 when he formed a group with his two friends.
“It was Sam, Valentine and me who formed the True African Connection band that was doing urban groove music then.
“We did songs that topped the radio charts which include ‘Kamutandavare’ and ‘Tapera’. Then in 2006, being someone who always liked sungura music, I decided to learn to play sungura music.
“I became a musician because I enjoyed writing music and stories,” he said.
Currently he has done an eight-track album titled “Chido”, which has three videos. One of the songs from the album is “Izuva Rudzii” which is getting airplay on local radio stations.