Chimurenga music godfather Thomas “Mukanya” Mapfumo, who ended his Peace Tour last weekend, is leaving Zimbabwe with a bleeding heart.
The 73-year-old exclusively told H-Metro he was fleeced by youthful promoter Max Mugaba and Mukanya is literally rejoining his family in the US on Monday next week ‘penniless’.
Despite falling victim to what he termed crooks, the legendary singer was pleased by the love Zimbabweans showed him during the tour.
Mukanya said planning boobs on the side of the promoter marred his tour, which was well attended. As the singer returns to his Oregon base on Monday, he feels betrayed by his own.
“When we came back home for this tour, we thought everything was in place.
“Our manager Austin Sibanda and Max Mugaba entered into an agreement where we were supposed to get 70 percent of the proceeds after sharing the costs, with Max getting the remainder.
“I sensed that something was wrong when we arrived in Zimbabwe after we learntthat our return air tickets had been cancelled since Max owed the travel agent some money.
“When we asked him, he said everything would be rectified and we decided to continue with the tour,” he said.
Mukanya said the discord started when their first show in Gweru was aborted owing to power cuts.
“When we travelled to Gweru for our first show, we were told that everything was in place.
“However, we were shocked when we learnt that there was a missing cable and one of my people Edwin Nyoka here attended to the issue and discovered it was a wrong cable that had been brought.
“We remained holed up in our hotel rooms hoping the situation would change.
“Sadly, the show was cancelled and there was near chaos in Gweru.”
After the Peace Tour’s false start in Gweru, Mukanya hoped all would be well when they perform in Bulawayo.
“At the Large City Hall show in Bulawayo, the attendance wasn’t that bad but that’s when Max began to act funny.
“On our side, we had assigned Blessing Vava to stand in for our manager Austin Sibanda who was set to join us later.
“Max was supposed to work along with Raymond Majongwe but we didn’t see him (Majongwe) at any of our shows that we held.
“After the show, Max and our own Vava did not give us a breakdown of what we realised and we did not get even a cent from that show,” he said.
As the tour entered its second week in Beitbridge, Mukanya said he remained hopeful the gods would smile for them.
Alas, that was not to be despite the Beitbridge show attracting a bumper crowd.
“Mugabe pulled the same trick after the Beitbridge show and I suspected he connived with Vava.
“They did not give us a breakdown of the gate-takings and that’s when I realised that something was fishy,” he said.
Mukanya said they faced similar treatment by Max when they held the Masvingo, Mutare and Gweru shows which he claimed were well attended.
The revered entertainer said they suffered one of their biggest upsets during the tour after their Kariba show was cancelled at the eleventh minute.
“On our way to Kariba, we received a phone call when we had just arrived in Chinhoyi advising us that there was no kit to use.
“We were told the same kit we were supposed to use in Kariba had been transported to Kadoma for Winky D’s show.
“We had to cancel the trip at the last minute when we realised we were dealing with a disorganised chap,” he said.
After realising Max’s blunders, Mukanya said he decided to take the matter into his hands.
“As was scheduled, we were supposed to use HICC for another show but Max said there were third forces at play as the hotel staff demanded US$30000 to use the venue.
“I opted to use Tuku’s Pakare Paye but on second thought, we then decided to use Club Hide-Out in Lochinvar.
“Imagine, I was now acting as a booking agent and promoter when Max was supposed to do his tasks.
“As had become the norm, Max and Vava played the same trick and disappeared with the money.
“The show was well attended and we really made a killing on that day.
“Max started acting funny again as he could not give us a breakdown of the money.
“We even contacted the EcoCash people who advised that Max owed them a fortune,” he said.
Hoping for a new start in 2019, Mukanya also held another show at Tanza Night Club and that’s when the problems worsened.
“The real problems started on the day that we held our Tanza show.
“On our way to the show, I forgot something at our rented guest house in Glen Lome only to find the doors locked.
“The landlady had taken away her keys and it was difficult for us to get inside.
“We then proceeded to the show and came back after the show only to find the door locked again.”
Asked whether he failed to pay rentals as was reported in some sections of the media, Mukanya clarified: “I was shocked to read in the press that I had been chucked out for failure to pay rent which is not true.
“The rent issue was between Max and the landlady who was owed US$1600 by Max.
“This accommodation was organised by Max and I was not involved.
“The police in Borrowdale convinced the landlady to unlock the door and we managed to take our clothes and moved to a new place that I was given by my younger brother Minister (Fortune) Chasi.
“We have been staying at his lodges and up to now I am still there till I leave on Monday.”
MUKANYA ON DEBT?
Mukanya also denied owing service providers as claimed by a local publication.
“I am actually going to sue those people who are saying I am swimming in US$10000 debt after my tour.
“I challenge the reporter to give me a list of the people I owe some money.
“Today (yesterday), I actually called the writer of the story to tell me the people whom I owe money and they could not saying anything.
“I even challenged the writer to accompany me to the lady who owns the Glen Lome house to hear her side of the story but he was not forth-coming.
“As it stands, we are going to sue the paper because my image has been tarnished.
“It was nice for the writer to seek clarification with us before writing the story.”
DELAYED US RETURN
Asked why he delayed his return to the US, Mukanya said: “After being fleeced by Max, I decided it was wise that I do something for the band members who helped me.
“We then organised some of our own shows afterwards and last weekend I was in Guruve and all the proceeds went to band members.
“I could have asked my children in the US to buy me an air ticket but I didn’t want to leave band members disgruntled.
“I am glad they are all happy after I managed to pay them.”
As he leaves on Monday, Mukanya is bitter with Max. “At one point we offered a reward to people who knew about his whereabouts as he was playing hide and seek with us.
“It’s unfair to be duped by one of your own and I will take legal action against him.
“I praythatthe National Arts Council of Zimbabwe de-register such kind of promoters.
“Honestly, with people like Max, we are doomed and going nowhere.
“It’s sad when one black man is exploiting another black man.
“However, I am a happy man that I have managed to meet and perform for my people after a while.”
As Mukanya bids farewell to homeland, he also feels betrayed by his own Vava.
“I don’t usually work with crooks but Vava betrayed me.
“I considered him an honest and educated man but he showed us his true colours.
“He never bid me farewell when he left for South Africa.
“Ndakaudzwa nevafana kuti angoita zvekusvova achiti mudhara ndichamufonera.
“It was just bad for him since we thought he could be our point man here back home.
“Anyway, that’s life and we move on.”