Trust Khosa, Assistant News Editor
MBIRA princess Florence “The Lioness” Nyamazana says most female artists’ promising careers have ended prematurely owing to showbiz predators’ awkward demands.
The mother of seven, who hails from Norton, reckons they continue to be snubbed at some high profile and national events if they don’t offer their bodies in exchange for slots.
However, the 38-year-old says she would not bow to rogue showbiz vultures’ preying on female artists.
If she we to give up, it would be the unavoidable cruel hand of death she concedes will stop her musical mission.
- MALE PREDATORS
In an interview with H-Metro ahead of the release of her new single titled Zvinoita Masango on August 1, the Ninga DzeNharira boss said the showbiz playing field was uneven.
“Being a female artist in Zimbabwe is not an easy thing since it comes with its own demands and I have seen it all as a player in the creative sector.
“At home, they expect you to commit yourself at 98 percent forgetting that the two percent they want me to focus on music is nothing.
“Another setback is that we don’t usually get enough airplay from radio as some male DJs demand sex in exchange for airplay,” she said.
The Lioness or simply Shumbakadzi in her circles lamented on poor treatment of female artists as compared to the opposite sex.
“When it comes to shows, some males promoters despite demanding sex they also dictate what they think we are worth as compared to male counterparts.
“I once have a torrid time at Pick & Save when she shared the stage with Peter Moyo and after the show both Peter Moyo and (Esau) Mupfumi disappeared and the session musicians I had roped in for the tour attached my instruments leaving me grounded.
“So when I say it’s not easy for female artistes out there I mean what I say and I will not be gaged because we want to set the record straight,” she said.
The Lioness said big corporates had a bias towards male artists when it comes to brand ambassadorial roles and sponsorship.
“When it comes to appointment of ambassadorial roles, a handful of women land those posts while males dominate.
“This alone shows that we remain a weaker sex and unwanted people since our values depreciates with each day,” he said.
- WORK ETHIC
Despite Lioness’ cry for equality, she has been recording consistently since 2006.
And for all the she has done, she gives credit to mbira player Micah “Mudyanevana” Munemo for the true mentorship.
She said Mudyanevana – a founding member of the then mighty Mbira DzeNharira – has been a pillar in her life/
“I started recording music as far as 2006 when we recorded Tisadzokere Shure, which was followed by Gwindingwi (2008), Bhinya Ngaribatwe (2010), Matama Matsvene Nembira (2016) and the 2021 production titled Paidamoyo.
“I have recorded a few singles and I will be launching the audio and video of my new single called Zvinoita Masango on August 1.
“I will continue producing new music as long as I can still sing,” said The Lioness who also plays mbira.
- CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
Like the proverbial prophetess who does not have honour in her homeland, Shumbakadzi is big beyond our borders.
The diva, who fuses Afro-centric elements with mbira, feels loved beyond borders than on home turf.
“Ever since I started music as far back as 2004, my music has been on demand overseas and other regional countries.
“It appears home fans are taking long to appreciate us while we are making inroads overseas.
“In the year 2010, I toured Germany for a couple of weeks and in 24 I spent six months in Uganda during a culture exchange programme.
“I still have good memories with the Uganda trip since it opened new opportunities for me.
“Afterwards, I have been to Botswana on three or so occasions while our neighbouring Zambia has become my second home since we performed there several times,” she said.
- COVID-19 EFFECTS
Like most of the players in the creative sector, The Lioness said she has been living from hand to mouth after losing their source of income in shows which remain banned.
“This period has not been us for the majority of us but in my case I have learnt to do with what I have and also to think outside the box.
“We manufacture and sell mbira both locally and overseas as well as making ornaments and traditional jewelry like the one I am donning right now.
“I am also an environmental advocacy who works with various organisations and school raising our campaigns.
“It’s something that I enjoy doing and I will not hesitate to do it,” she said.
Besides manufacturing mbira for sale, she also renders her services at traditional events.
“We have been holding private shows where there are few people and also performing at traditional bira ceremonies.
“It’s something that has kept us going and in really enjoy it as an artiste and spiritualist,” she said.
In her late 30s, The Lioness says she has not yet really reached her potential and fulfilling her dreams.
“I want to see mbira being performed in schools since it defines us as a people of Zimbabwe.
“In cases where mbira is played, it’s usually Nyonga Nyonga and this time around we want them to play these ones with many keys.
“If all go according to plan, I would like to set up an affordable mbira academy and identify new talent,” she said.
Backed by a star-studded Ninga DzeNharira, Shumbakadzi is ready to roar and conquer.
The group comprise Micah Munemo who plays Nhovapasi mbira, Trust Benson (congas), Lala Benson (hweva) and two dancers and a backing vocalist.