The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sunday News Correspondent
WHEN music promoter, Dave “Madamara” Ncube would greet you with his signature line “Sekunjalo”, in his booming voice, you would immediately know that he would have sealed a contract with a top music act and you should be ready for action.
Sekunjalo, also the name of his entertainment company, when loosely translated into English means ‘It has happened.’
“I always had a passion for promoting artistes and holding shows, that is where my destiny lies,” once revealed Ncube during an interview with Sunday News seven years ago.
Ever lively, Ncube, who died last Monday, rose from being a DJ in the early 1980s to become one of the top music promoters in the city having gone under the tutelage of Jeffrey “JJ” Chavunduka. JJ himself was one of the early music promoters to emerge in independent Zimbabwe.
According to Madamara’s childhood friend, Dave Luo, JJ took Ncube under his wings and while JJ was shrewd and had the links, Ncube was the one who handled the paper work including contracts and this led him to learn the ins and out of the live music business, enabling him to set himself up once JJ had passed on.
“Having grown up in Magwegwe, he could easily relate to the music tastes of “ghetto people”. His market remained in the townships and it showed in the musicians that he brought as they were more popular in the western areas.
“He would not bring in other musicians with genres such as jazz and soul but he focused on township pop. His biggest strength lay in being able to identify musicians that were “hot” at a particular time and would then bring them in for live shows,” he said.
Former business partner, Robbie Moyo, who teamed up with Madamara to run Metropolis Pub and Grill at Ascot Shopping Centre, said the music promoter managed to build a good working relationship with South African musicians that saw him being the contact point for any other promoter that wanted to bring in a South African act.
“I think because of his professionalism, he struck up a good relationship with South African musicians and if any other promoter wanted to bring in an act from down south they would ask him to facilitate. Musicians themselves would refer whoever contacted them to Dave as they felt comfortable dealing with him,” he said.
Ncube’s brother, Nicholas said Madamara moved into the entertainment scene at an early age after deciding that the “working life” was not for him.
He said after working at then Express stores and later at Swift, where he didn’t last for a year, he gave up a day job and began organising music events starting off with disco shows at the City Hall with radio disc jockey, George Munetsi.
“He then worked under JJ where he learnt the ropes of music promotions and later formed Sekunjalo Promotions.
He was comfortable in the music scene and enjoyed his work there bringing in a lot of artistes. He later ventured into neighbouring countries, taking music acts to Zambia, Malawi and Uganda. Madamara also ventured into running bars managing Metropolis, a bar in North End and at Selbourne Hotel.,” said Nicholas Ncube.
Madamara managed to light up the entertainment scene bringing in artists such as Jamaican reggae great, Dennis Brown, Congolese rhumba icons, Kanda Bongo Man and M’bilia Bel, Freedie Gwala, Brenda Fassie, Chico, PJ Powers, Lucky Dube and Soul Brothers.
He also struck up a close relationship with late afro-pop sensation, Dan Tshanda and their relationship saw the Dalom Music stable at one point touring the country on an annual basis. In an interview with the Sunday News seven years ago, Ncube revealed he got the nickname Madamara after taking Gwala to Harare and the show was a big flop as the artist was not popular in the capital, but was a hit in Bulawayo.
“It so happened that I miscalculated and brought Freddy Gwala after he had just done his hit song Amadamara. I thought he was popular across Zimbabwe. I took him to Harare with my cash trunks but I was wrong and made losses. That’s where I got the name Madamara from. I had to make a plan and recover. I brought him to Bulawayo and just one of his shows settled everything. The miscalculation was that he was not received in Harare as he was in Bulawayo,” he told the Sunday News then.
At the time Ncube noted the hurdles faced in the country’s entertainment industry saying lack of corporate support was the undoing of the arts industry, adding that in neighbouring South Africa international acts where able to perform in that country due to funding from the corporate world.
Ncube, who was buried last Wednesday, was born on 18 July 1967 in Bulawayo and attended Mazwi Primary School and Founders High. He battled a kidney ailment for the last 15 years and is survived by his wife and four children.