FEW Zimbabweans know that South African house music godfather Oscar Mdlongwa popularly, known as Oskido, is a son of Bulawayo.
South Africans have been quick to claim him because of the massive following he enjoys in his adopted country with a decorated history in the showbiz industry that is linked to the kwaito music revolution.
In Zimbabwe he is massively popular, but he is rarely mentioned in the same breath as Oliver Mtukudzi or Thomas Mapfumo.
This could be because Oskido’s footprints are more visible in South Africa than they are in Zimbabwe.
However, this may soon change as Oskido has started investing in his old neighbourhood of Luveve, one of Bulawayo’s most populous suburbs.
Oskido has partnered with the National University of Science and Technology (Nust)’s Technopark to run the Masilela Beer Garden, which they are leasing from Ingwebu Breweries — the Bulawayo City Council’s municipal liquor undertaking.
Through his company known as Wally Poly, Oskido runs the beer garden’s day-to-day business while the Technopark owns the franchise.
Technopark director Eli Mthethwa said they roped in Oskido after they struggled to fulfil their vision of turning Masilela, one of Ingwebu’s most popular beer gardens into a family entertainment centre of repute.
“Our main aim is to change Masilela into an adult family entertainment centre that would see the adult family in the city finding a place that would meet their demands and their standard of entertainment,” he said.
“We found Wally Poly which is now running the venue on a day-to-day basis.
“While as Nust, we have remained in the deal, we are, however, not there on a day-to-day basis despite the fact we are still the holders of the franchise.”
The Technopark conducts outreach activities as a way of building bridges and partnerships with industrial and commercial organisations in the country.
One of its major duties is to be a catalyst for the economic and social advancement of the Zimbabwean society by stimulating economic growth and modernisation.
It also seeks to exploit research outputs and innovative ideas that are generated at Nust. Ingwebu is leasing out some of its beer gardens to local investors.
Oskido is one of South Africa’s premier house and kwaito club and radio DJs and producers.
His father is Esaph Mdlongwa, a former MP for Luveve and a member of the Welshman Ncube-led MDC.
Oskido was born in the Oukasie Township (near Brits, South Africa) in 1967 and was educated in Bulawayo before returning to South Africa in 1987.
He started off selling boerewors and sausage rolls outside the Razzmatazz nightclub in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, in South Africa in the 1990s.
Oskido would sneak into the club to spin the closing sessions and slowing down American house tracks to a tempo that “Africans could dance to”. One night, the resident DJ didn’t pitch up and the rest is history.
Later teaming up with fellow producers Don Laka and Christos, they founded Kalawa Records and released their eponymous self-entitled BOP (Brothers of Peace) compilation in 1993.
Establishing a network of DJs, musicians, producers and other hopefuls, the label turned into Kalawa Jazmee in 1995 after Christos’ departure.
Oskido has since gone on to produce numerous artistes such as Bongo Maffin, Boom Shaka and Mafikizolo.
His December homecoming shows at Bulawayo’s Queens Sports Club are the biggest events on Bulawayo’s entertainment calendar year, in year out.