I once performed for five fans’

20 May, 2020 - 11:05 0 Views
I once performed for five fans’ Kobiri


GREETINGS H-Metro readers,

I feels good contributing to this column where I will be sharing my experience as a musician, father and health worker.

My people know me by the moniker Kobiri and I am glad that I been afforded this opportunity to reflect on the path I have travelled. Read on…


I was born MacKenzie Mwase on the 22nd of December 1979 to a Zambian mother and a Tanzanian father, and I have one sister.


I grew up in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe where my father worked for Gold and Kopje mine.

I attended Zurungowe Primary and Matoranjera Secondary schools.

Upon completion of my secondary education, I joined my father at the mine for three years.

In 2011, I was enrolled at Mutare Polytechnic for a three-year National Certificate in music.


As a Chimurenga artiste based in South Africa, my short term vision is to grow my Kobiri Music brand and leave a global footprint by 2025.

We have a new sound, Lion Sound, produced by Clive Mono Mukundu.

The new content will have live instruments i.e mbira, drums etc.

By December 2020 we should have put together massive new content so that early 2021 we rollout our shows with the new sound.

In the long-term, I envision a music academy for talent search and also supporting young upcoming artists.


I grew up in a family setup where I was suppressed and the only way I could express myself was through writing letters and leaving them where they could be seen, or write on the walls.

Take for example if I was not fed enough, I would compose a song – young as I was, expressing my frustrations.

Music therefore became a way I could express myself and I turned it into a hobby.


Considering the challenges may many artistes abroad are facing, I have made great strides to penetrate the sub-region.

What I discovered is that many artistes in the diaspora are tempted to imitate the music in the place/country they are in and end up struggling to penetrate the market, as they will be competing with the locals.

I chose to stick to my Chimurenga music which I understand better and can express myself well through remaining connected to my roots.


My role model back home is Dr Thomas Mapfumo and internationally, the late Bob Marley.

I draw my inspiration from my surroundings.

I travel a lot and find myself in different settings and there is always a story to tell.

I am particularly driven to amplify the silent voices of the voiceless. I can say I practise journalism through my music.


Growing up, my peers and I had a mock band and we would get lost in our music until late at night.

I enjoyed playing drums made of tins.


Besides music, I am an entrepreneur and am also into fleet management and marketing.

My love for music began in primary school after I was forcefully made to join the school choir by my then headmaster, Mr Sunday, in preparation for competitions for the new national anthem, Simudzai Mureza.

Our school won second place for Mashonaland West province.

The stage experience and the heroes welcome we received back home ignited my passion for music.

Furthermore, at Mutare Polytechnic, we interacted with Mutare Prison Band and I was exposed more to music and my passion was fanned further.

I later then managed Dziva ReMbira briefly not for material gain, but just out pure passion.

My breakthrough came in 2016.

My first album Punha was ground-breaking.

I launched it at City Sports Bar a venue for Jam sessions.

I invested a lot into this album launch, I was the first artiste to put up a huge billboard at Joina Centre.

I enjoyed massive media coverage and Kobiri became a household name.

I received a lot of support from promoters including the likes of Tinashe Mutarisi, Benjamin Nyandoro, Bangure, Daniel Maphosa, The Hub and many others from the art fraternity.

The support I received was incredible.


Doctor Thomas Mapfumo is my hero.

However, I take music as a hobby and passion. My air to breathe.

I am so passionate about music such that I can even perform for free.

It is not my source of livelihood.

Music comes with fame and you are constantly in the limelight.

It has taught me to watch how I handle myself in public.

Music therefore changed my personality. Tell us about your love life?


I am a husband, father and blessed with daughters.

As for competition, I believe every artiste is unique just like a fingerprint.

I do appreciate other musicians but I compete more with myself than others.

I always strive to be better today than I was yesterday.

I am in constant competition with myself.


Like many others in the music industry is, economic recession world over is my challenge.

Priorities have shifted.

People are more worried about meeting bread and butter issues.

Times are hard and there are no excess resources for attending shows and buying music.

Also the current Covid-19 pandemic has affected the music industry badly just like many other industries.

Music thrives on gatherings.


All our marketing is currently via the digital space and social groups.

There has not been much activity recently as my team and I are currently busy putting together a musical kit.

Plans are to stage live shows in the SADC region early 2021.


It was at Welcome Bar in Makoni, Chitungwiza two months after my album launch.

I had invested so much in that show as the plan was for me to have a chance to interact with my fans.

It rained so hard and we lost power.

Only five people showed up. It was my worst show ever.


As for my memorable show, it was at Beit Hall in Sakubva, Mutare.

We collaborated with Mutare Remand Prison, Madzimbahwe Mbira Crew and several Muchongoyo dance groups from around the country.

It was fully packed and my band and I received a resounding welcome when we came on stage.

Fans were throwing money to the stage. It was one of my most memorable shows.


My forthcoming projects are singles.

My team and I have decided to work on singles, collaborations and videos this year.

We have a collaboration with Amadhuve Sasha and the single’s release has been hindered by the current health pandemic.

The single, Rufu, is a special dedication to Prince Musarurwa and other departed artists.

We are also planning on collaborating with Progress Chipfumo.

My manager is also currently negotiating a collaboration with one popular South African artist.

The idea is to cast our net wider and and interact more with other artists.

I released a seven-track album Punha, in 2015. I then released singles and collaborations namely: Kobiri in 2016, Lindah (2017) Dambudzo (2018), Ndine Nharo (2019) Gurundoro(2019) Mukoma Ronnie with Ronnie Mudindo (2019) Usashainire Mafans with Carlos Green in 2019.

All in all I have produced 20 singles and an album with Clive Mukundu and producer Makumbe.


For now I cannot say much.

It’s still work in progress and I believe with time, considering the hard work currently invested, my team and I will achieve much.


The person currently handling my affairs is Helen Dete.

She is a business woman in her own right and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in business administration, public relations and marketing.

She can be reached on +27630013452 [email protected]


Artists have the loudest voice in any given society and can to a great magnitude, help governments in amplifying the message of awareness and prevention to the masses.

They should therefore take it upon themselves to relay the message creatively and free of charge to the people.

In my own capacity, I am an essential services provider and during this trying period I have been involved since day one in the distribution of food and medicine to different provinces here in South Africa.

I have therefore taken it upon myself to raise awareness during these distributions.

It is my wish that artists come together and compose a song for the world.


My word of advice to my fellow Zimbabwean artists is that they should not rely entirely on music.

Some have been fortunate to make a successful career out of music; but this industry on its own in most cases, is not self-sustaining.

It is advisable to have a meaning side hustle whilst we push our music hobby or passion to fruition. Musicians should take time to advance themselves academically and learn other skills so that they have something to fall back on should their music fail. Artists must learn something from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. There is need to have plan B.

NB:  Celebrities or celebrities’ managers intending to contribute to this column and share their stories, contact our Entertainment Desk on 0774119633 (calls/sms) or WhatsApp (0719119633) or email [email protected] .co.zw


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