Alick Macheso seems to have gone in overdrive in his verbal attack on Sulumani Chimbetu. For the past few shows, Macheso has said a lot of things demeaning Chimbetu and calling him several derogatory names.
For a musician of Macheso’s stature to stoop that low and pour a barrage of unwarranted criticism on a musician who is more than a decade younger and barely six years old in the industry, is unwarranted.
This has been Macheso’s character over the past years. Chimbetu’s case is not unique because Macheso, despite his huge following and strong position in the industry, seems uneasy with other musicians’ success.
Of course, Macheso is credited for grooming upcoming musicians but deep down in his heart seems to be a patch of jealousy that he sometimes struggles to conceal.
Remember the days when he penned the song Murondatsimba on his Vapupuri Pupurai album? The revered musician was obviously aiming at several musicians that were taking after him because his music had proved popular.
When Macheso’s unique bass guitar managed to attract attention across the industry, other musicians realised he had curved a new way that was worth following. But that realisation irked Macheso who seemed to forget that his original songs were not very different from Nicholas Zakaria’s. It was only with time that Macheso managed to shake off ties with Zakaria’s beat. Even when he was becoming a household name, there were allegations that a musician from Malawi had complained that the song Mundikumbuke had been plucked from his discography.
When Macheso attacked his “copycats” most people concluded that he was targeting Njerama Boys and Somandla Ndebele among other musicians that had followed his beat. Macheso’s lyrics showed that he was very bitter and there was a time when it was rumoured that he refused to share the stage with Ndebele.
These allegations could have been true because when Macheso and Ndebele shared the stage after a very long time, people thronged the shows to see how the two would relate on stage.
It was in 2006 when promoter Chris Musabayane managed to bring the musicians together. It was a victory for the promoter and fans because Macheso had initially showed that he was not happy associating with anyone he saw as a copycat.
Macheso had a ‘cold war’ with the late Tongai Moyo
There was also the so-called sungura cold war pitting Macheso and the late Tongai Moyo. It was such a nasty development and I personally witnessed Macheso refusing to talk to Moyo on the sidelines of a show at Harare Gardens in 2007.
Many theories came up as to why the two had become instant enemies but it was always clear that Macheso was bitter than the other part. Moyo tried to be diplomatic when talking about this sour relationship but Macheso was an angry man.
Recently, he said a lot of bad things about Energy Mutodi on the sidelines of a gala in Chipinge. He accused Mutodi of snatching other musicians’ band members and said he had no future in the music industry.
This obsession with attacking other musicians is now proving to be Macheso’s greatest weakness. Many musicians look up to him as a mentor and role model but there is this certain insecurity that he exhibits at times.
Does Macheso feel threatened with the likes of Njerama Boys, Ndebele, Chimbetu and Mutodi? Even if Chimbetu employed Macheso’s former band members, both should show a certain level of maturity. For Macheso to publicly dress down Chimbetu, or any other musician, in such a manner is unprofessional and immature.