Edith WeUtonga gets 1st award in 18 years Edith WeUtonga
Edith WeUtonga

Edith WeUtonga

Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
IT has taken 18 years for Edith WeUtonga to gain recognition for her career in music and the feeling is great she said, after scooping the Outstanding Alternative Music award during the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards (RoilBAAs) held in the city last weekend.

Born Edith Katiji, the musician said it has been a struggle to get recognition in the country, despite countless nominations at various awards.

“After all that I’ve done, my music has been nominated many times at the Zimbabwe Music Awards and NAMAs, but I haven’t won anything.

“It goes to show the struggles we as female artistes face, that no matter how good you are, it’s not good enough in the eyes of some,” said Edith WeUtonga.

“Getting recognition for female artistes is something you have to fight for. You always have to fight for space to perform, so this award is significant for my career.”

Edith WeUtonga said her musical career started at Amakhosi Cultural Centre hence the award was very significant for her.

“I feel honoured to be recognised in my home city. After so many musical nominations, I finally got to win one and in Bulawayo, a city where I carved out my talent some 18 years ago.

“It goes a long way as it shows that my work is appreciated by those from where I come.”

Reflecting on her musical career, Edith said it all began in 2000 while she was at Amakhosi. She joined a group called Siyeza Afro Jazz which had the late musician Max Mhlanga and Handsome Mabhiza as their lead vocalist and managed to showcase her talent.

An impressed Amakhosi founder and director Cont Mhlanga further boosted her career and exposed her to the world of acting by making her play the lead character in a television drama, Sinjalo, that was to be a hit. She played Mai Shupi, the wife of Foromani (played by Fortune Ruzungunde).

Four years later, an all-female band Amakhosikazi was established at the cultural centre to educate women on how to play musical instruments and write their own songs. The band did well as it toured the country for two years. But sadly, the project folded and Mhlanga suggested that it was time for Edith and her crew to go out and look for jobs, something she described as painful.

“Mhlanga sat us down and told us that we have been trained and it was time for us to look for work. It was painful; it felt like Mhlanga had just kicked us out of Amakhosi.

“He said we had an advantage because we could play instruments and that alone could make us integral parts of any band,” said Edith WeUtonga.

Fortunately for her, she managed to join jazz musician Tanga Wekwasando. And in 2008, she decided to start a solo career and managed to release three albums.

Now, Edith, who plays the bass guitar, is an established artiste who is developing herself by studying for a degree in music business at Midlands State University.

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