Majaivana’s disappearing act…Sick mum says he barely stays in touch

by Sunday News Online | Sunday, Nov 12, 2017 | 1204 views
Lovemore Majaivana

Lovemore Majaivana

Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Correspondent
THE last time that Lovemore Majaivana’s mother heard from her son was when he called from the United States when she was seriously sick. MaNyathi, as Magee’s mother is commonly known, had been vomiting blood and struggling to walk, something that is still troubling her now even though she says that the worst is over.

Besides that period when concerned about her health, it has been silence from her celebrated son who left Zimbabwe at the turn of the millennium and has never set foot in the country again.

“We’re barely communicating. We don’t talk much and things are just not the same. We’ve lost contact. The last time that he got in touch was when I was sick. That is when he would call once in a while and ask how I’m doing,” said MaNyathi when Sunday Life visited her humble home last week.

In Mzilikazi, a suburb that has proved to be the breeding ground of many stars in different fields, MaNyathi’s home is a landmark. As the crew navigated its way through the narrow streets near Manwele Beer Garden, many were eager to lend a hand and point towards the house where the mother of one of Zimbabwe’s music greats stays.

To make ends meet, a family member operates a vending stall near the front gate of the popular drinking hole. He too was only too happy to give directions to MaNyathi’s house.

Once inside, MaNyathi revealed that all had not been well as she had been sick recently. One positive to emerge from her ill-health however, was that she had made contact with her long-lost, exiled son after a lengthy period of silence.

“The problem that I had was that I kept vomiting blood. This continued until I was admitted to hospital and that is when I started getting better although I’m still struggling to walk. That is when my son started calling and inquiring about my health. After I started getting better he disappeared again,” said MaNyathi.

Credited as the pen behind some of Majaivana’s early hits, MaNyathi revealed that communication with her son had been strained for a while.

“We used to talk a lot when he was still in Harare but you can’t compare it with our current situation. Things are just not the same,” she said.

Like last year, rumours had recently begun circulating that the famously nimble-footed “Magee” would put on his dancing shoes and come back to his country of birth for one last dance. Prominent figures in showbiz had again begun the almost annual rumour that Majaivana would return to the City of Kings for the first time in 17 years. A man who sat besides MaNyathi throughout the interview, identified by her as his brother, quashed the rumours.

“Those people are lying because we don’t know where they get that. He hasn’t even called us in four months. It’s just talk to say he is coming in December,” he said.

He added that although MaNyathi was famous for bringing up a much loved musician, she was not getting much financial help.

“Everyone wants to check on her once in a while but it would help if they handed her a $100 bill as a sign of gratitude. It would help a lot,” he said.

Although contact with Majaivana has been hard to establish in the last few years, it was not the first time that he escaped MaNyathi’s radar. She said when he first went to try his hand as a musician in the capital, he had done so without saying goodbye.

“He had been under the watch of Mneno Khumalo who taught him a lot in his early years. He combined with other young men his age like Bizo Sithole to form the Marisha Jazz Band.

“He then left without telling us and we only heard after a few weeks that he and other young musicians were now in Chitungwiza. I went to search for him with his brother and we heard that he was renting somewhere in that town,” she said.

MaNyathi managed to sniff out her son during a show in St Mary’s, where the ever cool musician maintained his form on the mic, undisturbed by his mother’s sudden appearance.

“I remember that when we showed up, he recognised us but did didn’t show any sign that he had been caught unaware. He just smiled in my direction as a sign of greeting and continued playing. We later on went to him and he showed us where he was renting and we came back to Bulawayo. From that time, he came back to me when it was time to say his goodbyes when he was about to leave for the United States,” said MaNyathi.

Having spent so many years away from her son, MaNyathi now remembers with fondness his early years as a budding musician.

“He really loved music. He used to play on those small guitars as a boy back when the stream near Manwele was well taken care of. He would perform there for people who would give him money. At school he was also not bad but he did not do well in Mathematics so he was not allowed to progress beyond Standard Six,” MaNyathi said as she reminisced about Magee’s early days in the then Rhodesia.

With a rich music legacy that earned him a reputation as an unparalleled social commentator, it was to be expected that his sons would pick up the mantle with their father out of the picture. MaNyathi points out that even Majaivana’s heirs, Derrick and Randal, have shown little concern for her plight.

“They also rarely communicate but that’s to be expected when people are young and are living in the moment and enjoying the fame that comes with being a musician. Derrick comes here once in a while when he feels like seeing his grandmother. He lives nearby in Entumbane,” she said.

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  • BonzoReChihuta

    Magee, come back home!