The Sunday News
Mthabisi Tshuma, Sunday Life Correspondent
AT some point or other, most of us whose passion is embroiled on being in the creative sector, we have pondered the age-old question, would you rather be a famous footballer or famous musician?
For some such questions don’t ponder as they jump on board to whatever they feel their talent is inclined to. The latter aforementioned is just but a simply depiction of yesteryear imbube outfit Amavevane Accapela whose journey started off as a soccer team that later had to be turned to a musical outfit.
Formed in 1996, the group previously known as White Umfolosi though not much celebrated but has managed to raise the Kalanga people flagship, Zimbabwe flagship and also the African continent.
From performing for revered people that include the late President Robert Mugabe to showcasing their talent to Queen Elizabeth, is a glimpse of the journey that the Amavevane Accapela group has travelled.
The group based in Johannesburg, South Africa has members namely Future Ndex Moyo (founder), Silinganiso Ndlovu, Lucky Moyo, Ezekiel Ncube, Tshela Sam Nkomo, Mloyiswa Mpofu, Musawenkosi Maseko, Mbonisi Mhlanga, Emmanuel Ndlovu and Collen Makhosini.
The group is known for its melodiuos voices laced in the genre of Imbube / Iscathamiya and their dances are encompassed on Gumboot, Umchongoyo, Amabhiza and Isitshikitsha.
Sunday Life caught up with the group’s marketing and communication officer Calvin Khululani Moyo who went memory down lane of the trials and tribulations the group has encountered.
“Amavevane Acapella is a 10-man strong male ensemble that was former White Umfolosi Performing Arts. We came together in 1996 after the whole group was actually in the Ngwana Primary School soccer team in Plumtree. We were beaten six nil by a nearby school and our then coach Mr Luscious Ncube sat us down and asked us if we thought we were in the right field.
“We sat there quiet and embarrassed and he told us he would try us on a different path. He then put us on a new path of singing Imbube / Iscathamiya and mentored us through primary and secondary schooling which we did at Matjinge Secondary School,” said Moyo.
Moyo said as there were moulded they started embarking on several tours during which they did local in competitions and ceremonies.
The group made its first international tour in the UK with the Theme “Cultural Exchange” in 1999. They have also toured countries like Israel and Botswana.
“Our highlights are performances for the former President Mugabe on one occasion at his 21st movement celebration in February 1997 at Hlokweni school a few kilometres outside Bulawayo. In May 1999, we got an opportunity of a lifetime which was to be a game changer to our careers as we performed for the Queen of England and the event was in London,” said Moyo.
Moyo said after secondary school, they had to relocate to the City of Kings and Queens as they were eyeing greener pastures.
“We relocated to Bulawayo in 2001 at the beginning of the year, after receiving our O-level results. Going to Bulawayo was a big challenge but with the help of Mr Kandemwa Mandaza, a father to Bornwell, one of our members still in Zimbabwe, we found life becoming affordable as the God-sent man provided a full house for the whole group, at Entumbane. In Bulawayo we managed to perform alongside our brothers and sisters that from groups among them Black Umfolosi, Iyasa, Imbizo, Umkhathi Theatre, Indosakusa (Former Impumelelo Shining Stars) and more,” he said.
Moto said life’s turmoil and economical demands saw them move to South Africa where they sought employment and continued to perform in their spare time.
“Settling in South Africa was a bit challenging given we had to be housed by fellow relatives who also struggled to make ends meet. We have maintained our cultural routes and traditional dances to this date. In 2019, we thought it was time to evolve and hence no better evolution was better than that of a butterfly. To this day, we still sing and perform on all gatherings, social celebrations and in mourning. Our performances cater for all reasons to gather,” said Moyo.
Amavevane Accapela recently released an album called Endleleni Enzima a follow up to their debut Celani Lizokuphiwa. The second album lives true to the situation in the whole world where there is hunger, war and the novel coronavirus.
“Our work is inspired by our love of music and also knowing that music unites the world and can also heal. In the album we feature our hit single Kubukalanga which has seen praises far and beyond oceans. It stands currently as the Kalanga Anthem on social media. We have appeared at a number of weddings, birthdays, community shows around Johannesburg and have travelled to Kwazulu Natal in 2015 and had the privilege to meet Dr Joseph Shabalala who is the late Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder,” said Moyo. — @mthabisi_mthire