The Sunday News
Bhekumuzi Ncube, Sunday Life Reporter
WHEN Andy Brown passed away, it was not a far fetched expectation that his 10 children with seven women would become embroiled in ugly inheritance battles much like the cliché “Where there’s an inheritance . . . there’s war.”
It’s a common occurrence among families that when parents die, particularly a father, the death triggers hate and fights caused by feelings of entitlement among the children, often devastating the family legacy, moreso if the children are from different mothers.
However, that cannot be said about Brown’s children who have somehow managed to avoid this sort of drama by remaining united and supportive of each other after their legendary father passed away in 2012.
Many a renowned actor, actress, musician, athlete and celebrity socialites have numerous children from multiple relationships and the mbira music king, Brown is not an exception. The late Afro-fusion muso had 10 children from seven women.
Andy fathered Devona, Ammara, Shahla (late), Alex, Chengeto, Chiedza (late), Ushe, Jason, Andy Jnr and Al. From this list, only Ammara has managed to rise out of dad’s shadow to become arguably Zimbabwe’s undisputed music queen.
Since her debut a few years back, she has recorded duets with celebrity musicians like Tytan, Hugh Masekela and Oliver Mtukudzi in projects that have topped the charts at local and regional radio stations. One of her best duets is Mukoko, a very popular and catchy tune she recorded with Tytan.
Ammara’s sister, Chengeto is also following in her dad’s footsteps and has managed to work on successful solo projects that have been well received by fans. She featured on Ammara’s blockbuster hit Wachu Want which is part of the Ammartia album.
Devona, who is the first born to Andy, owns a popular hair salon called House of Brown in Harare although she is based in New Zealand while Ushe, who is 13 years old, recently moved to Chad. Two of Brown’s children, Shihla and Chiedza passed away a few years ago. Chiedza, was born to mbira sensation Chiwoniso Maraire, took her own life in 2015 in the United States of America where she lived.
It’s quite unthinkable that children from seven different women have managed to keep a happy face together leaving their haters in shame after many believed Andy’s death to be the end of his legacy. To some, Brown’s death signalled the beginning of the end for posse of offspring.
Many critics believe that Andy Brown did not have much time for his children before he died, giving credence to the view that peace among his many children would be impossible: ugly spats were expected to come fast and thick as the children battled for control of their father’s estate.
However, Brown’s most successful offspring at the moment, Ammara put this notion to bed, revealing that since their dad passed away they have each gone out of their way to help one another during difficult times and celebrating together in good times.
“We all have great relationships with one another. And with all the grief that befell our family, I strongly believe it brought us closer as a family and made us stronger. We love hard and we fight hard, just like any other normal family. We often have family luncheons at my house to catch up and grow closer. We thank God for making it possible for us to meet as a family and allowing us to show each other that we are very important to one another,” she said.
Ammara said her remaining brothers and sisters are all armed with persistence, perseverance, determination, dedication, single mindedness, self-belief and the will to never give up on their dreams.
“We are a team. We are all ready to make our dreams a reality. We are involved in many projects together. We are very fond of each other. Alex and Chengeto are budding musicians, who are currently reconstructing our father’s studio while Ushe and Jason are also musically gifted. Ushe is an amazing composer and sings with Jason, privately at this point. Jnr and Al are still very young and are yet to exhibit their talents.”
“Next year I will become more involved in Devona’s business as a brand ambassador for her growing company. Chengeto and I have worked together on numerous occasions, while Alex and I are currently composing new tracks. Ushe and Jason look to all of us for advice in nurturing their craft,” she said.
So far Ammara and her siblings have managed to keep the spectra of disharmony at bay and if this trend continues, only the sky can stop them from reaching and surpassing their father’s achievements!