Tobias Mandoreba, Sunday Life Reporter
The scheme of arrangement initiative undertaken by Hwange Colliery Company last month to honour its financial obligations to various creditors including company employees brought with it an array of positives within the coal mining town from the business angle, spilling into the social arena.
Top on the list to benefit from the “awakening of the coal mining giant” is bubbly 23-year-old upcoming Zimdancehall artiste, producer and composer Milton “Dhara Mileh” Zhou, whose hit song Seven Percent has taken Hwange by storm and dominated airplay in most entertainment joints, in public and private vehicles and residences.
The track, on a ten song-album titled Chi dragline, and classified as Chipangano riddim was launched at the Victoria Falls-based Breeze FM on 16 June with the station’s producer/presenter Ray Karipache quick to highlight in a separate interview that the song is highly popular with listeners.
Sunday Life caught up with the man of the moment Zhou at his Dhara Milleh production studios in the town last week.
“From a young age when I was at primary school at Lusumbami I discovered that music is in my blood. I am someone who can compose a song from virtually anything and I can quickly compose a song from what you are wearing as you interview me!
“The happy mood and renewed hope among Colliery employees after the payment of the 7% of salaries owed led me to compose this song to spice up an already electrified atmosphere which is still present now. The reception has left me humbled and gives me hope that one day with resources on my side I can be a big Zimdancehall star,” said the smiling Zhou.
Zhou, who is working in collaboration with other producers in the town namely Masterfame Records and ML Records, are relying on the popularity of social media especially WhatsApp and Facebook as a marketing tool for their songs.
“Soon after the launch, that song Seven Percent spread like wildfire on social media and was shared around at an alarming pace although our fans are clamouring for discs which will produce very soon,” added Zhou.
Popular lines in the Seven Percent song are “Zvayangove 7% percent mugodhi wese, Nhasi doro riri ku-replacer vhati (water) nekuda kwe 7%, kakapinda ka 7%, kangena ka 7%, Tachinja mamwiro, mafambiro, mabhemero nemadyiro ne 7%. Mota yangu, grocery yangu zviri mu 7%, dai ikasapera 7%.”
To prove that his popularity is no fluke, another fresh release Mudhara Makore Mune Yese early this July is also proving popular and with ingredients to be another chartbuster.
“A group of Colliery employees approached me and pleaded that amid all the euphoria in the town there was also need to pay tribute to Hwange Managing Director Engineer Thomas Makore for the famed 7% pay-outs. Again the reception is awesome,” he said.
Zhou highlighted that he has so far produced over 300 songs over three years and is hopeful he can soon get some sponsorship to expand his home studio into a fully-fledged professional entity to nurture upcoming musicians.
His set of studio equipment was sourced from South Africa in 2014.
Zhou also hopes to strike advertising deals with big and medium shops and businesses in Hwange town.
“Dhara Mileh” was a curtain raiser at a recent Hwange show by Zimbabwean sungura music powerhouse Alick Macheso at the Edmund Davies Hall where revellers kept asking for a repeat of his Seven Percent hit song.