HomeStandard PeopleWho makes the top five in music?

Who makes the top five in music?


The gig will feature Oliver Mtukudzi, Alick Macheso, Sulumani Chimbetu and Winky D. It has been tipped to be the gig of the year because all musicians that would be performing are doing very well on the local and even international scene.

Organisers of the show say they have labelled it Zim’s Finest basing their judgement on the musicians’ performances for the past year. The musicians have been able to pull large crowds in their combined and individual shows.

However, music lovers in the country and abroad expressed mixed feelings over who qualifies to be in the list of top five musicians in Zimbabwe. Readers’ responses to our debate via email and SMS mainly showed Leonard Zhakata deserves a place in the top five musicians’ list.

More than half of the responses suggested the Zora music master still has the qualities of a top musician in the land. Here is what the readers had to say:

The best five musicians in Zimbabwe are:
Oliver Mtukudzi
Leonard Zhakata
Tongai Moyo
Alick Macheso
Nicholas Zakaria
From MC Chirimuta, Glen View 3. (via sms)

The ones advertised (in Zim’s Finest show) are surely the best at the moment. Charles Charamba won’t even fit because his music so far is of the poorest quality. His latest album did not even perform well. Hail to Sulu, Tongai, Cheso, Tuku plus Bigman. We will be there (at the show) – from Josh.(via sms)

Leonard Zhakata is the best – anonymous (via sms)

Leonard Zhakata is Zimbabwe’s Top Musician — Jethro Magwati Chakauya (via email)

Hi Mr Muzari, will give my top five as follows:
1. Leonard Zhakata — all-round success from videos, lyrical content and an inimitable music genre, though media does not seem to favour him.
2. Leonard Dembo — His music is a legacy that will forever be etched in the minds of Zimbos. It does not fade and cuts across centuries.
3. Thomas Mapfumo.
4. Oliver Mtukudzi
5. Nicholas Zakaria — though he is sort of repetitive, he is consistent and is downplayed by media, maybe he does not bribe DJs and journalists.
From Oscar Siziba (via email)

The Standard issue of 18 September 2011 published the public response to an article it carried the previous week in which it referred to the five musicians to participate at a show in Harare as the Big Five.


While the article tried to justify that judgement, it did not clarify who from the musicians, would give way for the Charambas, who it noted, qualify to be in the top list, or whether the Charambas would be number six or seven. I read it as one of those typical journalistic tendencies to refuse to be challenged once they form an opinion.

The five musicians may still come up as the Big Five if a panel is put in place to decide. Interestingly, since the launch of Leonard Zhakata’s Gotwe, NewsDay and The Herald, have on a few occasions described Zhakata as “man-of-the-moment”. That is the opinions of the authors but it proves that such judgements can be very subjective, and one should not be defensive when challenged.

The good thing though in The Standard story is that while the paper still maintains its position that besides the Charambas, the musicians that will perform at the September 30 gig are indeed the top musicians of the moment, they have opened up the floor for the public to vote for who they think are the country’s current top musicians.— Driden Kunaka, New Zealand (via email) ……

It’s funny that LKZ (Zhakata) is mentioned in the first paragraph and Mr Muzari did not find it necessary to mention his name again — sure we have different tastes.


For a man whose music has been banned or burned to be where he is — still producing “rich” music — the least we could do is to acknowledge such talent.


The mafikizolos may be crowd-pullers but I expect the analysis of best artists to broaden the scope and look at the actual music — instrument, mixing, content and the art in the music because music is art.


Can you really mention Sulu (I admit the youngman is very talented) ahead of LKZ? What was upcoming — the show or the artists?
(comment by Trevor Moyo on our website)



These were all the comments and suggestions that we got and basing on the responses given, the order of the list would be follows:

Leonard Zhakata (6 votes)
Oliver Mtukudzi (3 votes)
Tongai Moyo (2 votes)
Alick Macheso (2 votes)
Nicholas Zacharia (2 votes)
Sulumani Chimbetu (1 vote)
Winky D (1 vote)
(The late Leonard Dembo and Thomas Mapfumo were also mentioned but our survey is focusing on musicians currently performing in Zimbabwe).
I my view, this is a debatable order indeed and calls for more contributions. Send your suggestions to:


By Godwin Muzari

or sms to 0773 910 006

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