By Kennedy Nyavaya
“When I hear negative criticism, I do not attempt to explain because time will do that for me,” Afro- fusion musician Sam Dondo has told this reporter before.
His statement was in response to critics that at the time suggested that his brother Thompson Dondo’s wealth was being used to forcibly feed the young lad’s music to an unconvinced market.
However, it seems the baby steps in a journey of the proverbial thousand miles have begun leading towards a bright destination if his bookings for two festivals in the United Kingdom are anything to go by.
“This is encouraging because I thought people were not looking at my work while I was working hard for it to go out there,” Dondo told this publication on Friday.
“It has been hard, I do not want to lie because I felt like I was not being appreciated, but now this means all that hard work was not a waste of time.”
On August 3, Dondo will headline Kitenge, a cultural festival organised by Ugandan nationals, while he is set to join other artistes at Heritage, a fiesta to celebrate Zimbabwean culture. This time his brother is not funding any of it.
“They [Ugandans] just fell in love with my music although they cannot even understand the Shona language, so it has given me strength and now I have no reason to quit,” he said, attributing a great deal of the success to Thompson, whom he says “believed in me when no one else did”.
Now more than ever, the Maturikwa singer, who is set for US and Australia tours later this year, believes his sound will break borders and therefore wants to maintain it.
“Sometimes God gives us different gifts and had I fallen into the trap of changing my sound because of criticism, organisers like these would not have come up, but they did because of the unique sound,” he said.
Dondo has pledged to stage top-drawer performances at both events so as to secure a permanent place at such big shows.
Back home, he is happy with the gradual progress emanating from closely engaging his followership.
“It’s my dream to get local attention and I have learned to start by engaging those that are currently appreciating my music, my fan base is growing, so I am happy,” said Dondo.