Thursday 28 October 2021


The Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts, and Reaction will soon send a proposal to Government to make legendary sungura musician Leonard Dembo who died in 1996 a national hero. 

This was said by Midlands Provincial Arts and Culture Development Promotions Administrator, Shackson Reward at the 25th anniversary and tombstone unveiling of the late Dembo at his graveside at Chaka in Chirumanzu on Saturday. Dembo was a lyricist, a guitarist and a music genius. 

Dembo will become the second musician to be declared a national hero after Oliver Mtukudzi if Government accepts the proposal. Other musicians with lower hero status are Simon Chimbetu and Zimdancehall chanter Saul Musaka aka Soul Jah Love who were declared provincial heroes. 

Chinx Chingaira is the other musician who was declared a provincial hero but unlike the others, he is the only one who participated in the liberation struggle when he joined the war in Mozambique. Dembo is arguably the most talented musician to emerge out of Zimbabwe and he is the best-selling musician of his time. His music is timeless as it continues to hit the charts 25 years after his death.

 “We will soon hold a meeting over this issue and the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa is definitely going to look at how to accord Dembo some national honour. “Dembo’s music speaks volumes of his contribution to the culture of our country. He placed Zimbabwe on the map and his hit song Chiteketete was played at the Miss World pageant in Windhoek in Namibia in 1996,” said Reward 

He reminded the gathering of Dembo’s hit albums which were churned year after year from Chitekete (1991), Tinokumbira Kurarama (1992), Mazano (1993), Nzungu Ndamenya (1994) and Babamunini (1996). Dembo was born on December 29, 1959, in Masvingo. He started playing the guitar at the age of seven. 

He joined the music industry after independence in 1982, worked with ‘The Outsiders’, and released ‘Venanzia in the same year before going solo in 1984 to form his own band. The other albums by Dembo are Mai neVana Vavo (1984), Nhamo Moto (1985), Kuziva Mbuya Huudzwa (1986), Sharai (1987), Kukura Kwedu (1988), Ruva Rashe (1989) and Kukura Hakutane (1990). Dembo died at the age of 37 on April 9, 1996, at the Avenues Clinic in Harare. 

He was laid to rest at his rural home in Chaka on April 10, a date which coincides with the date and month in which he released Ruva Rashe in 1989. Masvingo Mirror


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