Jeys out to reclaim Byo’s lost glory


BULAWAYO – Afro-jazz icon Jeys Marabini is a man on a mission to restore Bulawayo’s status as Zimbabwe’s arts hub.

The popular musician born Majahawodwa Ndlovu says Zimbabwe’s second largest city is now a pale shadow of the country’s former industrial and cultural hub due to the mass exodus of its seasoned and talented musicians.

Marabini has decided to resuscitate the Bulawayo Comes Alive Music Extravaganza which was suspended in 2007 due to economic challenges that ravaged Zimbabwe then.

The revived music concert, set for May 24 at Masina Sports Bar, will bring together over 40 local musicians at the venue in the sprawling suburb of Bulawayo.

Marabini told the Daily News on Sunday that he has been motivated by Zimbabwean musicians’ clamour for recognition.

“If you look at people here in Bulawayo they don’t believe in their own artistes,” said Marabini.

“Local artistes have also developed a tendency of not believing in themselves.

“In Ndebele we say Ukukhala akusizi meaning there is no use crying over spilt milk.

“We can’t forever be cry-babies that is why I strongly feel that an idea like this one will go a long way in defining who we are as Bulawayo musicians,” the award-winning artiste said.

Marabini added that the forthcoming show will present Bulawayo musicians the platform to prove their mettle in the cut-throat showbiz fraternity.

“We took the festival to a high density area where people can simply walk to the show. We want to prove that our music is appealing,” he said.

The Kozekulunge front man is unhappy with the current situation where foreign musicians particularly South African DJs are raking in all the dollars in Bulawayo while local musicians struggle.

The festival will kick off at 12pm and rumble on until 6am the following day and has been limited to upcoming and seasoned musicians who hail from Bulawayo.

Marabini, claims that musicians from Matabeleland are sidelined at national galas and the country’s radio stations, and is keen to turn the festival into an annual event to be held in Bulawayo and or any suitable venue around Zimbabwe’s second largest city.

“It is disappointing that many of our musicians remain unpopular as the so-called national airwaves and national events have proved to be a reserve for others while a few from this side have been selected to perform at national functions leaving many of us to suffer.

“Unfortunately this has given Zimbabweans a bad attitude about musicians from this side.

Many think they are not good enough yet they lack the platform to prove themselves,” added the musician who is now a successful business man.

According to Marabini the likes of Majaivana, Fanyana Dube and Solomon Skuza managed to rise to stardom because back then radio stations used to give airplay to musicians regardless of their ethnic background.

Musicians expected to perform are Black Umfolosi, Jeys Marabini, Chase Skuza, Khuxman, Iyasa, Ndolwane Super Sounds, Sandra Ndebele, Willis Watafi, Cool Crooners, Ndux Junior, Umdumo wesizwe, Tukuye Super Sounds, Isizukulwane, Otis Ngwabi, Impumelelo, Abigail Mwembe, Obadiah Mathulana, Siyaya, Djembe Monks, Gabz Fire, Mchez’nana and Hudson Simbarashe and many.

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