John Chibadura’s legacy lives on

By Colette Musanyera

IT is 23 years after the death of one of Zimbabwe’s greatest musicians, John Chibadura.

Known as Mr Chitungwiza, Chibadura was also one of the best Sungura and reggae artists to emerge from Zimbabwe.

Born John Nyamukokoko, the music legend earned the nickname Chibadura owing to his guitar strumming skills.

The majority will remember him for songs like Zuva Rekufa Kwangu, Mudiwa Janet, Rudo Runokosha and the popular Rairai Vana.

“Chibadura was a very talented musician and he churned out several hits including Zuva Rekufa Kwangu and Rairai Vana. However, Rairai Vana remains one of his best offerings,” said a music enthusiast who spoke to ZBC News.

Known for his trademark permanent wave or simply perm hairstyle, Chibadura was popularly known as Mr Chitungwiza for being one of the first musicians to own a house in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza.

“Chibadura was a good person and a very talented musician. We used to share the stage and regardless of his success, he remained humble. He was known as Mr Chitungwiza, the name he earned due to his popularity in the town,” said Madzibaba Nicholas Zachariah.

Chibadura once worked with Naison and Simon Chimbetu as Sungura Boys before forming Tembo Brothers soon after independence.

His illustrious career saw him tour European countries like the UK and Netherlands, and he was also popular in Mozambique, which he referred to as his second home.

Chibadura’s sons, Simba and Knowledge, who have also ventured into music, have vivid memories of their father’s successful career.

“We learnt a lot from dad. He never told us to venture into music. His success inspired us to join the industry. He embarked on various international tours and Mozambique was his favourite because of the response he received from the Mozambicans,” they said.

Backed by the Tembo Brothers, Chibadura recorded various hits including the popular reggae track Zuva Rekufa Kwangu, with most of his albums going Gold from 1985 to 1988.