KARIBA SHARES HIS STORY
15 June 2018
. . . I was spotted by Soma
. . . I don’t dance for competition
HE is one of the best dancers at Alick Macheso’s Orchestra Mberikwazvo.
Having joined the sungura outfit in 2016, Kariba continues to stamp his authority in a group that has great dancers like Majuice and his exploits at Macheso’s recent album launch, have endeared him with fans.
Macheso calls him Kariba-Zambezi and to him, it is a dream come to true to work with the sungura kingpin.
H-Metro caught up with Kariba who began his career with Somandla Ndebele to share his story. READ ON . . .
Question: Who is Kariba?
Answer: I am a divorcee; I separated with my wife some years back when I was still at Nicholas Zakaria’s Khiama Boys. So I am searching for a partner and will settle soon. We are (with ex wife) blessed with two girls and I love them so much. I am the first born in a family of five – four boys and one girl. I am the only one is showbiz and my siblings always ask me about it.
Question: You are always energetic on stage. How old are you?
Answer: Dancing is good exercise on its own so it keeps you fit and you always look young. I am 35 years old and a few don’t believe it because of the energy I showcase on stage.
Question: Who discovered you?
Answer: I was spotted by Somandla Ndebele at Nyamhunga Stadium in Kariba where he was performing along Tongai Moyo in 2006.
So Tongai performed first and when he was about to finish his act, he asked for fans to come on stage and showcase their talent. I then went on stage and Soma who was watching from backstage was impressed. When I got off the stage, he sent one of his aides with a business card who said I should phone the following day. When I phoned him (Soma), he told me that I have to come to Harare. When I arrived, he told me that I was part of his band (Denda Brothers) and he expected me to report for work the following weekend in Shurugwi. I then had to arrange accommodation and relocated to Harare since I was staying in Kariba with my parents.
Question: You worked with Soma for how long?
Answer: From 2006 to 2010 and from there I joined Khiama Boys. My dream was to work with a big artiste.
Question: And the name(s) Kariba-Zambezi?
Answer: My real name is Shame Chidewo, the moniker Kariba came when I was at Denda Brothers. No one bothered to ask my name when I joined the group, so Soma started calling me Kariba since I was from Kariba. I then told them my real name but it was too late. Soma even introduced me to the fans during shows as Kariba. When I joined Orchestra Mberikwazvo, mdhara Macheso gave me the name Zambezi. He introduced me to the fans as Kariba and said his surname is Zambezi. I just concluded it’s because Zambezi River forms part of Kariba dam. A few people know my real name at Mberikwazvo; they either call me Kariba or Zambezi.
Question: How did you end up at Orchestra Mberikwazvo?
Answer: When we didn’t have shows, I would attend Macheso’s shows and go on stage to dance hoping that he will notice me. So in 2016, Khiama Boys and Orchestra Mberikwazvo shared the stage in Beira (Mozambique) and my instinct told me that this is the chance, not that I was undermining Khiama Boys, I just wanted to be at the best group in the country and that is where I am now. So in Mozambique we performed first and both Macheso and his management watched us performing towards the end of our set and they were impressed. So my breakthrough came while I was in a foreign land. I parted ways with Khiama (Boys) in Mozambique but I kept it a secret and communicated when we returned home. To me it’s a dream come true to the extent that I still remember the day I started work. It was on the 4th of November 2016 at The Platinum in Mutare.
Question: Your greatest moments at Orchestra Mberikwazvo?
Answer: My first show at the group. Being new to the band, I couldn’t believe it and I was trying too hard to impress and you end up overworking. I performed some of the dances I cannot repeat, I was at my best that night. Some of the greatest highlights include our show in Tete (Mozambique) and our recent album launch at Aquatic Complex. I wouldn’t want to brag but paya takachimhanya mdhara.
Answer: I get my inspiration from fellow dancers. I used to attend shows by a number of musicians whenever I got the chance. I envied people like Franco Slomo during his days at Macheso, Zozo who once worked with Zhakata and Mariano who was with Tongai Moyo. Now I get inspired by Alick Macheso. Besides being a good instrumentalist, he is also a good dancer.
Question: Are you self taught?
Answer: Most of my moves just come when I am on stage, I don’t copy anyone but I just get the inspiration. I used to lock the door and practice alone in my room but now zvakungozviita zvega.
Question: What differentiates you from others on stage?
Answer: I enjoy my work and I express myself through dance. That is my biggest strength. Of course everyone wants to be labeled the best in any discipline. Even at your work you want to be regarded as the best writer but at the end of it you remember that you have one goal, to inform the nation. That is the same situation when we are on stage, I dance to be the best and I think my workmates also do the same but we all know that we want. That is to give our fans the best.
Question: Have you encountered backstabbing or has anyone tried to outsmart you on stage?
Answer: I have heard about it several times that people backstab each other to the management or the boss himself. At Mberikwazvo you would be actually in trouble if you try it. Do you think Alick Macheso is a character who tolerates that? I also know that kuma band kune shaisano, people want to outdo each other but I don’t believe in that. If they are doing it, it will not affect me because I just focus on what I do. We told ourselves that we are not here for competition because we end up being jealous of each other. We work as a family, the important thing is to work together, and the important thing is to have work ethics which usually guide us at Mberikwazvo. We practice together and come up with dance routines though we are allowed to diversify on stage. That is the moment you see the best of Kariba or the best of Majuice but I don’t do it to outsmart anyone.
Question: Allegations that you use drugs?
Answer: Bad dancers use drugs because they will be trying hard. Good dancers don’t need enhancers because zvinozviita zvega. Take an example of those who buy sex enhancers, they know that they are not good enough. Besides you will get fired at Mberikwazvo when you are seen taking alcohol or drugs while at work. After work, the managers can buy you beer vokutakura kuenda kumba kana usisagone kufamba.
Question: Which song(s) do you prefer on stage?
Answer: I can dance to all songs but my favourites are Shedia and Mundikumbuke. I enjoy the stage most when these songs are being performed. This, however, doesn’t mean that I cannot do better on other songs. On this new album (Dzinosvitsa Kure) I am in love with Pfuma Yacho, Vane Zvavanoda and Chikuru Kurarama.
Question: Are you making a living out of dancing?
Answer: Hakuna mari inokwana, even those who earn thousands will tell you that. But we are surviving out of it, no complaints. Orchestra Mberikwazvo is a big band and the management (of Lucky Macheso and Tich Makahamadze) is trying its best to make sure that everyone is happy. I cannot reveal my wages but what I can tell you is that I am happy.
Question: Your best friend at Orchestra Mberikwazvo?
Answer: I get along with a lot of guys, the likes of Charles Chembe, Elton Muropa, Chokumanyara (Givemore) and Majuice. In fact, the entire band because I never encountered problems with anyone.
Question: Your favourite musician(s) in Zimbabwe?
Answer: Apart from Macheso, my favourite musicians are Progress Chipfumo, Simon Mutambi and Leonard Zhakata. This does not mean that others are bad, I just love their music.
Question: If you were not into music?
Answer: I would be a truck driver. My father (late) was a truck driver and I used to accompany him. My dad is my role model.