Insights into origins of the Dendera label

By ZBC Reporter

AS the nation marks the death of veteran singer Simon Chopper Chimbetu 14 years ago, our news crew visited Dendera area in Mudzi where the late singer was deployed during the ceasefire period and got insights into origins of the name Dendera.

The Dendera music genre founded by the late Simon Chopper Chimbetu lives on and has become one of the most prominent music genres in the country.

However, not much has been said about the origins of the name Dendera and what inspired the late musician to name his band and music after this famous African bird found in parts of southern Africa.

After being deployed in Mudzi district as part of reinforcements during the ceasefire period, Simon Chimbetu was part of the freedom fighters based at Dendera Assembly Point in Mudzi and used to entertain other cadres and villagers together with Ketayi Muchawaya.

History has it that the Dendera area where the assembly point was located got its name from an old hunter who used to stay in Chitomba Mountain across Vhombodzi River where lots of ground hornbill/Dendera birds and was given that name because of his association with the birds.

Some war veterans and villagers who were based at the assembly point took us through the journey which led to the birth of Dendera label.

“Yes I can confirm that simon chimbetu was based at the dendera assembly point and used to entertain fellow cadres and villagers during the ceasefire period together with ketayti muchawaya,” Curthbert Masiyambiri, a war veteran.

“Simon was inspired by the name dendera and ended up naming his band and music dendera,he used to hear the sounds of the dendera birds from across vhombodzi river in chitomba mountain,” said
Josiah Nyamunda, a war veteran.

“He used to play his guitar from the old olivine containers connected with twine which was very funny to us but entertained people.”

“Simon was my classmate at musengezi primary school were he used to entertain us and we were to meet at dendera assembly point in 1979 ad he was inspired by the name dendera which had great memories for him which later saw him naming his band and music dendera.”

With nothing to show for the role it played during the liberation struggle and the birth of Dendera music, villagers in the area challenged the Chimbetus to consider holding a show at the place to give it the honour it deserves.

“We want a monument to erected at the place to honour the legacy that it has so that people will recognize the role it played during the liberation struggle.’

The chimbetus seem to be in agreement with the villagers saying they are prepared to honour the place.

Simon Chimbetu was so inspired by the Dendera name that the late musician also named one of his albums Dendera released in 1985, with Dendera Resango being the title track.