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All That (African) Jazz

SUNGURA: the review

SUNGURA: Story of John Chibadura and Zimbabwean Music

Written & Directed by Andreas Hoehn

Film Director: Vladimir Petrovski-Karter

Running Time: 104min

A REVIEW BY CONSTANCE VAN NIEKERK

This extraordinary DVD brought tears to my eyes. As a Sungura fan, I applaud the creators of this DVD for an amazing job well done! It’s quite informative and indeed a must-have for every Zimbabwean. This expertly produced DVD must be in the ZBC archives. It is quite important to document this important musical genre for the future generations, especially now than ever as it seems to be slowly fading into oblivion.

The late Biggie Tembo

The documentary begins with John Chibadura’s sons, one singing their father’s song, ‘Zuva Rekufa Kwangu’ the other playing a guitar. It’s a beautiful, touching beginning at Chibadura’s homestead. At the end of the DVD, we are taken to the same set, with the same young man who was playing the acoustic guitar at the beginning now playing the guitar and singing Chibadura’s ‘Madiro’.

John Chibadura

After Zuva Rekufa Kwangu at the beginning, the scene then changes as we’re taken on a ride around ‘present’ day Zimbabwe while listening to yet another touching track, ‘Nguva Yakanakisa’ by the late Edinah Chataika. Throughout the documentary, we are taken from the past Sungura, the present and the future through the various artists featured.

I got so emotional watching Biggie Tembo and listening to his son singing his songs and talk about his late father. It is wonderful to learn through this DVD, that the offspring of these fallen Sungura heroes are carrying on their legacies. And seeing the late Producer/ Manager/ Rhodesia National Soccer Team Player Tymon Mabaleka and listening to his stories on some interesting moments of Sungura simply makes one nostalgic. Tymon takes us through the ZMC vinyl pressing plant; will the future generations know what a vinyl record is? Mabaleka also gives us information on how Chibadura began his musical journey amongst so many of his enthralling stories.

John Chibadura was a Zimbabwean Sungura singer who was affectionately known as Mr Chitungwiza. He died on the 4th of August in 1999 at the age of 42.

Chibadura’s album cover

It was heart-warming to visit the Chibadura home in Chiweshe and meet the rest of the family including John’s wife (Mrs Chitungwiza, as Tymon fondly called her). There were sombre moments as I stood by Chibadura’s grave, then many happier ones as I witness some live recordings. Down memory lane I went with old video clips from John Chibadura, Biggie Tembo, Green Arrows, Black Salutaries, Mashura & Okavango Boys, Marshall Munhumumwe & The Four Brothers then there was still plenty of time to get on the dance floor as I visited nightclubs in the Sunshine City of Harare for live performances such as that from Alick Macheso and Tryson Chimbetu. The interviews with various people throughout the documentary were educative and absorbing. Seeing Andreas dancing to ‘Zuva Rekufa Kwangu’ put a smile on my teary face! 

Biggie Tembo (Senior)

Biggie Tembo (Junior)

I could go on and on writing about this masterpiece on Sungura produced in Germany. Why not watch this sensational movie? Satisfaction is definitely guaranteed. To order a copy at a very affordable price, send an email to afriquality at yahoo dot com

Sungura is treasure. I do hope for more documentaries of this nature featuring more Zimbabwean fallen musical heroes such as James Chimombe, System Tazvida, Simon Chimbetu, Leornad Dembo and others. May they never be forgotten. May we not stop playing their music in our hearts. May they rest in peace.

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About Editor

Constance van Niekerk is a South African-based Zimbabwean-born creative writer, poet, music lover, spoken word artist, freelance writer, blogger and educator. She has contributed to several anthologies and published her own collection, Echoes of My Heart: A Poetry Collection available for purchase on all Amazon Stores Worldwide. She is also Editor at ZimOnlineNews. Follow her on Twitter : @convanniekerk Connect with her on Facebook and Linkedin.

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Echoes of My Heart: A Poetry Collection by Constance van Niekerk

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