Trust Khosa, Assistant News Editor
BUSINESS came to a standstill in Norton when yesteryear guitarist and composer, Jackson Phiri, got a surprise visit and donation from a local music promoter last Saturday.
Sourced by lawyer-cum music promoter, Panganayi Hare, the 79-year-old received groceries, medication and an undisclosed amount of money at his Katanga homestead.
Hare, who was accompanied by radio personality Rabson Umari, chanter Shiga Shiga, fiery rhythm guitarist Innocent Mjintu and drummer Musaope Nkoma, paid the revered guitarist a surprise visit after learning about his plight.
Phiri who is now in his late 70s, has developed a deep wound on his leg which has seen him being grounded at home.
Although it is speculated it could be either cancer or diabetes, Phiri is yet to consult a doctor but the situation is now getting worse with family fearing he might be amputated.
The Loose Biscuits band leader, whose career spans over six decades, is also credited for laying the foundation for Zimbabwean music even though he remains a nonentity.
“When we heard about his illness, we decided to drive to his homestead in Norton to help him with some groceries since he is struggling to make ends meet.
“I listened to Rabson Umari’s programme “Gamba Remumhanzi” where Phiri’s plight was highlighted and I felt I could do something and help the veteran guitarist,” said Harare who has since recorded his debut album entitled Mbuva Yehwiza.
Hare who has vowed to source more donations for Phiri urged other well-wishers to come on board and help the ailing singer.
“I can’t say I am rich but there is need for us to share the little that we have as brothers.
“In my case, I can I am just helping a brother and after this visit, I realised there was need to uplift each other and respect our legends who have done the best for the arts sector,” he added.
Umari who was part of the advance team to travel to Norton said they were overwhelmed by the support they got.
“When we arrived with Hare, Shiga Musaope and Mjintu, Phiri’s homestead was swarmed by people who want to follow the proceedings.
“We ended up addressing people at liquids Sports Bar in Katanga after realising that his homestead could not accommodate people all the people who had gathered.
“As a radio station, I have also realised that we have the power to change people’s lives as is the case with Phiri who is now getting help.
“We were the first to reach out to him before the Norton Municipality could do so,” he said.
Phiris is one of the yesteryear artistes who honed a number of artistes dating back to the 1960s and late 50s.
He is credited for honing the likes of Shepherd Chinyani who later became a sungura teacher after passing through Phiri’s tutelage.
The late national hero Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, Jonah Sithole, Susan Mapfumo, Tedious Matsito, the late Admire Kasenga are some of the household names to have passed through his guidance.
At Tuku’s funeral, Phiri was bitter not have been given an opportunity to address mourners as one of the musical elders in Norton.
In the early 70s, he fronted the Limpopo Jazz Groove which is credited for having pioneered sungura and kanindo genres.
To date, he is backed by the Loose Biscuits even though he is now struggling to hold his shows.
He last recorded an album in 2011 titled Blue Moon.