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Afro-jazz’s ultimate power couple

In the movie, Moulin Rouge, Ewan McGregor, who acts as Christian, makes the famous remarks that, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return.”

By Moses Mugugunyeki

McGregor’s expression rings true for Afro-jazz’s ultimate power couple, Selmor Mtukudzi and Tendai Manatsa, who last Tuesday celebrated their 11th anniversary of their marriage.

Last Tuesday, Manatsa on his Facebook wall posted: “Happy eleventh anniversary my wife/side chick. I’m still crazy in love with you my sweet chilli dark chocolate.

You still make my blood boil and you make me look like a decent guy when we all know the truth. I love, love, love, love and love you, babe.” And Selmor responded: “Aawwe babe, words fail me. You are my best friend. Please stay as crazy as you are because I love you that way.”

Taking a leaf from international celebrity couples such as Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Jay-Z, Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz, as well as Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, the Zimbabwean singing couple has not allowed fame to ruin their marriage.

Early this month, Manatsa, who admitted that he was not as popular as his wife Selmor — daughter of music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi — released his fifth album titled Good Vibes at Red Café in Harare.

The Standard Style’s Moses Mugugunyeki (MM) spoke to Manatsa (TM) on what makes him and Selmor tick. Manatsa, son of legendary musician Zexie Manatsa, also spoke about his music life, especially his latest album and the newly-opened Manatsa Music Studios.

Below are excerpts from the interview.

MM: Your marriage is 11 years old. What makes you and Selmor tick?

TM: The trick is that we are good friends.

MM: As children of legendary musicians, what did you learn from your parents that makes your relationship and careers strong?

TM: My parents have been married for over 30 years and they have stuck together through thick and thin. I have learnt a lot from them.

MM: How many children do you have?

TM: We have three children: Ben, Troy and Hannah.

MM: What do you think makes Tendai and Selmor a unique couple?

TM: I really don’t know. I think we are just like any other couple out there.

MM: Was there a time when you felt jealousy towards Selmor in your 11-year- marriage?

TM: I was not stable during our early stages of dating. Ndaifunga kuti babe rinobaya [I was thinking that the girl would be snatched by someone].

MM: How have you contributed to Selmor’s music career and, likewise, how has she helped you?

TM: We work on everything together.

MM: What have been the craziest moments that you have had with Selmor?

TM: Well, we have tried out different kinds of food. So far, we have tried eating snails, crocodile meat and octopus.

MM: You released your fifth album titled Good Vibes recently. What is it all about this latest offering?

TM: It’s my first own Manatsa Music Studios production and I especially love track seven titled Chenherera.

MM: There is a perception that Selmor is more popular than you when it comes to music. What’s your take on such a view?

TM: Yes, she is. She has had more hits than me and I am very proud of her.

MM: Tell us more about Manatsa Music Studios.

TM: It’s a recording studio and my dream is that we can be known for producing good quality music.

MM: Share with us your experiences in the music industry both locally and outside the country.

TM: It takes just one song for an artiste to make it on the international scene, but locally, you have to release 10 albums to get recognition. When artistes from outside Zimbabwe, famed for only one song, come to perform here, Zimbabweans show up in large numbers, but that is not the case with local artistes. Zimbabweans do not support their own artistes.

MM: Afro-jazz is not a popular genre in Zimbabwe. What’s your take on such an assertion?

TM: It’s not true. The biggest artistes in Zimbabwe are the ones who play Afro-jazz. So, what do you mean?

MM: In five years’ time, where do you think music would have taken you to?

TM: If God allows, I think I would be still doing music, recording more songs and more artistes.

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