The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
DERICK Sipho believes that he has found a new lease of life.
Only two years ago, Derick found himself at a crisis as the man that he had known as his father for four decades, musician Lovemore Majaivana, publicly disowned him, casting potentially career-ending doubt on the paternity of the man carrying his name.
Up until that point, the Majaivana name was the foundation stone upon which Derick had built his career, while growing up in Bulawayo and even spreading wings to South Africa. It was the wind in his sails, the push that life had handed to him curtesy of merely possessing the genes of one of Zimbabwe’s greats.
While some musicians have to build, start from scratch, grinding out a name for themselves in front of the most unforgiving fans on the most unfashionable of stages, he instead was the heir apparent to Majee, one of the most famous names in local music.
From the time he had decided to pick up a mic, this was Derick’s life. Until it wasn’t. Overnight, he was stripped of the one thing that made him more special that the thousands of young Zimbabweans with a guitar in their hand and a song in their hearts. He woke up one day and his name was no longer his. He was no longer Majaivana, uGolide.
Instead of the master of song that is still missed sorely by Zimbabweans two decades after he last polished his dancing shoes, Derick discovered that he was the son of one Abel Khanyi, a late National Railways of Zimbabwe train driver who probably never held a high note in his life.
Finding out that your father is not your father after 40 years cannot be easy. And so, the last two years have involved a lot of soul searching for Derick who now is ready to retell his story, this time without the burden or expectation brought on by the Majaivana name. Although he might no longer technically be Majaivana’s son, he wants to tell that story using the only way he knows how – through music.
“I am rebranding, l guess it has been an open secret to the whole world that this would happen,” he told Sunday Life.
“I thought of this when it dawned on me that my old man didn’t like me using the Majaivana brand and so l have changed to Sipho Derick. I did this so that I could find peace within and with everyone around me. Remember music is the system, it is within me. So, l have become even more determined and focused to come out stronger from past experiences to dish out this so brilliant track which features two great South African friends of mine,” he said.
The track in question deals with the issue of absent fathers, a subject that is dear to Derick’s heart. While his own fatherlessness was only confirmed two years ago, the track was itself conceived years earlier than that.
“This track just popped up in my mind and l remember, I think it was about five years back. Me and my band were doing rehearsals for a national gala event and the song started playing in my head and l had to sing it out to my guys, including the two ladies l have worked with for a long time, Fiona and Sharon.
“That’s how the song came to being, it’s basically a cry from the children to their mother as they face the hardships in life because their father abandoned them and is living large somewhere else. Their cry is for answers and they ask why? Why is this happening to them? What wrong did they do? They know nothing and are but just innocent kids.
Why are they subjected to such neglect and hatred from the one they should look up to as a father?” he said.
After that life-changing bombshell two years ago, some might be wondering where the musician found the strength to pick up a mic again. Derick told Sunday Life that he had spent that time doing a lot of soul searching and healing from a bit of news that wounded his heart and turned his life upside down.
“I think the gap between that time and now, when I am releasing this single accompanied by an instrumental, was a period of self-healing and it’s amazing how my friends in Yeoville (South Africa) motivated me and even chipped in with financial help for the studio work. I have two friends called Felix and Confidence and these guys are amazingly supportive and they are the reason l got my groove back. Just like that and I am back in the game and I can say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” he said.
While he might have been disowned and humiliated, Derick said a new name did not mean that he would purge Majee’s glittering discography from his sets.
“Majaivana music is my backbone. l will drive it as it navigates me to greater heights. I am so proud to have been raised by such a great musician and surely will put a smile on his face one day as he sees me and my team progress in music circles. God has been good. He got me up and whispered, ‘be still and know l am God’. l will never forget that voice.
“My new name is my real name in actual fact. I am Sipho Derick and so l have only taken out the last part of my name. I will push my style to greater heights. In music we move with times because creativity pops up all the time. I stand rebranded as Sipho Derick from this coming album going forward,” he said.
While some might see the revelation that he was not Majee’s son as career ending, Derick said he believed that hardship and strife had shaped him into a better musician.
“This is a (new) track sung in Ndebele with a Setswana translation so it expands my territory which is the game to play for me now. I want to be reaching out to a larger audience than l used to. What l can say is l have matured and although I’m still the Derick Majaivana you know, I have changed for the better and I am ready to please all my fans around the world in a more beautiful, artistic way than before,” he said.
While he might be upbeat about his career, Derick does not deny that his personal life has not been a bed of roses.
“I think natural healing process is my priority right now. With a lot of support from friends and family I’m holding up well and have since overcome the stigma that plagued me in the beginning. When the time is right, we will have that discussion as a family but for now l choose to focus on the positivity surrounding all that is yet to be done and come my way before l depart planet called earth. l don’t dwell much on the past but after a setback I get myself up, look up to Jesus and journey on,” he said.
After 40 years of knowing nothing but the Tshuma name next to his first name, he believes it may be a bit too late for him to regard himself as anything else. When he is ready to embrace his other family, he said, he would do so.
“Honestly l tried to connect with them but the questions and answers became too much for me to process, so l instead chose to stick to myself and the people l know. That will be the case up until my brothers and sisters out there feel it’s time to reach out. l have a family, which is the Tshuma clan l grew up under, and we have good relations even after all that took place. I consider those from either my mother or father’s side my brothers and my sisters and that’s how I will leave it. Forty years is way too long for one to just wake up and say l am changing from this family to this one,” he said.