Simbarashe Mutizwa Showbiz Correspondent
Victoria Falls was a hive of activity over the weekend as thousands of people gathered to commemorate President Robert Mugabe’s 91st birthday on Saturday.The celebrations kicked off on Friday with a children’s party at Victoria Falls Farm School. It was for children who were born on February 21, which is also the President’s birthday.
The party was followed by the main celebrations which ran under the theme: “Celebrating the birth of Gushungo, the icon of Zimbabwe’s revolution and champion of youth empowerment” and a gala on Saturday. Various groups including Botswana’s kwasa queen – Slizer had the opportunity to entertain the President at an event held at the Elephant Hills Resort golf course.
After the cake was cut, it was time to loosen up and continue with the celebrations at the gala at Chinotimba stadium. Hordes of youths quickly made their way to the stadium to secure spots near the stage. The stadium quickly filled up as revellers braved the night anticipating to listen to music from their favourite singers.
The gala held under the theme: “Jive for an icon” was hosted by comedians Babongile Skhonjwa and Clive Chigubu. They were assisted by talented presenter, Thulani Munyandi. The two jokers, Chigubu and Skhonjwa made it difficult for revellers to fall asleep as they took turns to give patrons some comic relief.
Praise and worship set the pace of the gala with a performance by gospel sensation, Shingisai Suluma. Earlier during the day the President had announced that she had flown from the United Kingdom to come and celebrate his birthday.
She put up a spirited act and performed hits such as Maitiro enyu, Nanhasi and Mwari Anonzwa Minyengetero.
The night however, exposed Zimdancehall acts, Seh Calaz and King Shaddy whose performances left a lot to be desired.
While all artistes performed with live bands, the two acts whose music is mainly computerised, had to rely on backtracking which spoiled their performances as the gala stage clearly had no space for such acts.
They however, went all out and made up by being energetic on stage. Seh Calaz, popularly known as Mubhanditi performed hit tracks, Hatipisike, Kwatinobva and Mumota Murikubvira among others.
King Shaddy’s hit songs Machira Chete and Mama were crowd favourites. The artiste also won the crowd’s support after inviting humorous legislator and war veteran, Joseph Chinotimba to join him and dance along to his Machira Chete song – a move which sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Award-winning groups Iyasa and Mokoomba proved their mettle and showed why they have scooped numerous awards after staging well-choreographed acts.
It was a perfect home party for Victoria Falls-based Mokoomba who displayed their dancing prowess when they played their hit, Mayibuye iAfrica.
Dance queen Sandra Ndebele and her Intombi Zomqangala band were a hit as they left the crowd yearning for more with their electrifying dances.
Not to be outdone was dendera maestro Sulumani “Sulu” Chimbetu who stole the hearts of many female patrons with his captain attire.
Never one to disappoint, Sulu and the Dendera Kings who were also smartly dressed performed both his and his late father, Simon’s songs such as Ndarangarira Gamba, Batai munhu and Tenda. Revellers could not help but join him in song and dance.
Also performing were Amakhosikazi Entuthuko from Bulawayo and Harare-based Mbare Chimurenga Choir. Tambaoga was also part of the entertainers.
He kicked off his performance with hit track – Agreement.
However, a poor sound system almost spoiled the night as the music occasionally faded while singers were performing. The mood was also a bit dampened just after midnight as it started drizzling and some people could be seen making their way out of the packed venue.