VENDA – The Limpopo province music fraternity in South Africa suffered a terrible blow when a highly-respected, multi-talented Chiredzi-born musician succumbed to illness last week.
Thomas Hlupheka Mushwana (42) was buried during an emotional, but celebratory, ceremony at Tshandama village, near Tshilamba, on Saturday.
Fellow musicians, family members and friends braved the chilly weather to bid farewell to the renowned musician who, during his lifetime, played in gigs as far as France and Switzerland.
Born in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe, in 1972, Thomas displayed his musical talent at a very young age. His brother, Kenias Mutirikidi, remarked: “He taught himself to play guitar at the age of 10.”
He went on to teach himself how to play drums and percussion. He was very young when he formed a school band called Risenga, which later released three albums.
He moved on to establish the Dynamic Brothers, which commanded a huge following in Zimbabwe. This was followed by his relocation to Musina in the early eighties, where he helped to establish Tafara Band.
Due to his courageous spirit of experimenting in life, Thomas moved to Tshandama in 1989 and settled with the Netshisaulu family for the past 25 years. He was instrumental in organising the first Tshingondo music festival, which was held at the University of Venda stadium in the nineties.
The festival featured great Zimbabwean musicians such as Thomas Mafumo, Devera Ngwena Jazz Band and Paul Matavire. During his lifetime, Thomas also played with Joseph Mbiza, aka Zozo, Peter Chirobe, aka Tshigomboza, Mashaka Band, Vhembe Heritage and the late disco king, Peta Teanet. He also released one Tshingondo album.
Representing the Netshisaulu family, Maradzhe Netshisaulu said Mushwana was a “true son to us and we are very sad that he left us when we still need him most. We are happy that his family from Zimbabwe has joined us to bid him farewell. He had a good sense of humour and he was full of jokes and found fun in everything. We will surely miss him”.
Representing the music fraternity, Zozo said: “We have lost one of the most talented musicians ever produced during our lifetime.
“Thomas could play any instrument and he was a valuable asset to the music industry.
“We were not surprised when he got offers to play internationally, because he was a rare brand in the music industry. We will really miss him.”
Bishop Samuel Mulovhedzi of Pile Triumph Revival Church officiated during the funeral in the Tshandama graveyard.