The dream of the late popular musician Tendai Mupfurutsa, also known as Prince Tendai to build a clinic near his homestead at Chishumba 2 Business Centre in Hurungwe remains pie in the sky for villagers besides assurances by government officials who graced the musician’s funeral in December 2011.
By NHAU MANGIRAZI
Then Information minister Webster Shamu attended the burial and delivered a condolence message from former vice-president Joice Mujuru who was acting president. Shamu said he was close to the late Mupfurutsa — a “competitor” when it came to fashion and style.
Shamu, who during his stint as Information minister was more visible at musicians’ functions than any other aspect of his portfolio, assured mourners at the funeral of the former Midnight Magic frontman that government would see to it that his dream was fulfilled.
Six years down the line, Shamu has bounced back in government after he and hordes of other top-ranking Zanu PF officials who were suspended in 2014 on allegations of conniving with Mujuru to topple former president Robert Mugabe were pardoned.
Famous for heaping lavish praises on Mugabe, Shamu, now Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister, denied making any pledges to assist the late Mai Tendi hitmaker.
“I never made any commitment to assist the late Prince Tendai. In fact, what you are trying to do is to put words into my mouth,” Shamu told The Standard Style in a telephone interview last week.
However, poet-cum-musician Albert Nyathi, who took over from the late Mupfurutsa as chairperson of the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association, said promises were made to fulfil the late musician’s dream.
“Prince Tendai was our big brother. As musicians, we are waiting for his family’s initiative and his business associates to spearhead the clinic project,” Nyathi said.
“It is public knowledge for those who attended the funeral that Prince Tendai had big dreams, but we are ready to do anything to fulfil the dreams. Personally, I am ready to raise money to assist the Hurungwe community to build the clinic to make our departed brother’s dream a reality.”
Villagers who spoke to The Standard Style in Hurungwe recently confirmed that Prince Tendai had unfulfilled “big plans” that included building a clinic and other developmental projects.
They said Prince Tendai’s dream project was supposed to have been established at Chishumba 2 Business Centre, which is popularly known as Gandarashe Centre. The centre is now out of the way as the 10km road that links it to Magunje Growth Point is in bad shape.
When The Standard Style crew arrived at the business centre, which was established in 1987, there was no life —the only notable buildings being a grocery shop and a beerhall, both of which have closed shop.
“The place is deserted and there is no life,” village head Douglas Chigede said.
“We cannot tell where the clinic was supposed to be built, but as you can see, this is the place that the late Tendai wanted to build the clinic. Some of the undeveloped commercial stands here have been turned into fields by the villagers.
“There has been no development taking place here since this area was given business centre status by Hurungwe Rural District Council. Physical planning and other things were done, but nothing tangible was done to develop it. We had hoped that Tendai would spur development by building a clinic first as was his dream.”
Chigede said he was optimistic that if Prince Tendai had not died, the business centre would have been something else.
“Villagers had moulded 20 000 bricks for the construction of the clinic, but without action from the top, it remains a pipe dream,” said Chigede.
The village head’s sentiments were echoed by Stella Makaza (69) who expressed concern over the neglect of the area.
“We thought those who made pledges of Prince Tendai’s dreams would stick to their promises as we are prepared to give a hand as a community,” said Makaza, a former pre-school teacher at the business centre in the late 1990s.
Another village head, Jonathan Mupfurutsa, an uncle to the late Prince Tendai, said as a family, it was improper on their part to ask those who made pledges to fulfil them.
“It is true that Prince Tendai was very concerned about assisting the community as evidenced by personally financing the road that links us Magunje Growth Point rehabilitated. He had plans to have it tarred as well,” he said.
“The clinic was one of his major projects that he intended to hand over to council and government after completion. This was for the community as it could have saved us from travelling long distances.”
If Prince Tendai’s clinic dream had come to fruition, it would have eased the burden on villagers who are forced to travel 15km to Magunje Growth Point for health services.
Headman Mupfurutsa said there were a number of projects that the late Character singer had done for the community.
Councillor for the area Badwell Chirara expressed concern over the unrepaired road leading to Mupfurutsa Village.
“I am deeply concerned over that poor road. Of late, we were pinning hopes on the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration for funds, but nothing has materialised. I have raised the issue with the authorities on several occasions, but I am being let down,” said Chirara.
Hurungwe Rural District Council CEO Joram Misheck Moyo said the local authority was making efforts to rehabilitate the road, but was facing financial challenges just like any other local authority.
“As council, we appreciate efforts made by the late Prince Tendai Mupfurutsa who funded the maintenance of the road until he passed on. He used to hire council equipment and we worked with him in partnership,” Moyo said.
“However, council is facing financial constraints and we hope that we will assist when we can. Of course, Prince Tendai had several developmental plans that could have uplifted the community.”
The late Tendai Mupfurutsa died in Harare on December 28 2011 and was buried at his rural home among 11 other relatives.
Like his heyday of flamboyance, his immaculate tombstone stands as an aura of hope, outshining even his late father Roma Manyika Mupfurutsa’s tombstone.
His father was born in 1905 and passed on in 1975.
Prince Tendai was a musician, businessman and philanthropist. He is credited for helping create the urban grooves genre at a time when sungura music dominated the local music industry. He formed the first ever locally-owned record label, High Density Records, in 1994 and he was nominated for the Kora Music Awards in 1997.
The talented musician is renowned for bringing to Zimbabwe R’n’B musician Akon and dancehall sensation Sean Paul in 2010 under his Real Deal Promotions.
His hit song Character was played during an all-night funeral vigil in Magunje. The song had become a hit, not only in Zimbabwe, but all over the world which saw it being nominated for the Kora Music Awards in the Best African Song of the Year category. The song is off his album Uprising.
Prince Tendai released many hits under Barbed Wire sound and worked with several groups and musicians like Marshall Munhumumwe, Newman Chipeni and Afrika Revenge.
As a music producer, he recorded with rhumba giant Kanda Bongoman.
The late musician left behind six children and two wives.