Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Reporter
IMAGINE, the man who has organised the biggest, craziest and most memorable shows in Bulawayo that shook the nation, once prayed and fasted for the now defunct Visions Night Club to be shut down.
This was during his teenage years at Milton High School, where he was the president of the Scripture Union. The headquarters of Scripture Union were a stone’s throw away from Visions Night Club. The buildings faced each other, one building was the house of God and the other was viewed as the den of sinners.
Visions Night Club has since shut down, perhaps forever, the house of the Gospel of Salvation still stands open.
Today, the man who prayed for Visions Night Club to close turns 40 and he is not celebrated for being a preacher or a prayer warrior, but for lighting up Bulawayo by bringing international artistes such as Black Coffee, Sjava, DJ Tira, Black Motion, Cassper Nyovest, DJ Zinhle, Vigro Deep, Jah Prayzah, DJ Zandie Maz, Winky D, DJ Fresh and Euphonik through his 3D Events company.
As part of his 40th birthday celebration, Mdu Mdlongwa will be holding an All-Black Party at his place of work, Hartsfield Tshisanyama this evening.
Later on tonight there will be an after party at BAC with musician Nutty O.
Tomorrow the party continues with SA’s Vigro Deep at Umguza Yacht Club on the outskirts of Bulawayo.
Saturday Leisure spoke to Mdu as Mdlongwa is affectionately known about his 10-year life as a music promoter.
Mdu grew up in Nkulumane, raised by a single mother who was a pastor as he lost his father when he was young. The mother later re-married.
He attended Amaveni Primary School and was made head boy. He then went to Milton High School and did his tertiary education at Bulawayo Polytechnic College where he completed a course in Hotel Management. He went on to work at Holiday Inn.
“I come from a very strong Christian background. My family has pastors, deacons and musicians and all. This music thing always followed me up from the Mdlongwa.
“There was a woman called Nomathuli, the banqueting manager at Holiday Inn at that time, who encouraged me to join the team. I had no clue that’s where my passion will be. I was working at the front office, and I applied for a vacancy that opened up and got the job and found that I liked organising events and putting things together. I worked there for five years,” said Mdu.
He said in 2008 he and a cousin set up an events company.
“I worked with my cousin All Master and I have to give thanks to him as he was the one who came up with the idea and the drive for us to have an events company. And we decided to do a show. DJ Clock was hot at that time and we decided to book him and we went our separate ways,” said Mdu.
He said the DJ Clock event was an afternoon event at Hillside Dams.
“We did not know anything about event organising and bringing artistes from outside the country. We just thought that we just bring the artistes, put up posters, promote the show, fly the artiste, they do the show and they fly back.
“He was cheap at that time and I think it was 7000 rand. Everything felt like it was a foregone conclusion that we would make money. When DJ Clock flew in, we were told that there is a Censorship Board, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, Immigration and ZIMRA. William Nyandoro from the National Arts Council came to tell us that we aren’t having the show. I felt drained. But we ended up processing the paperwork after the event and allowed DJ Clock to perform and we settled everything on Monday. There was a fine,” said Mdu.
In all these years, Mdu said the most difficult artiste he has worked with was Durban based hip hop artiste, Sjava.
According to Mdu, Sjava when he performed in Bulawayo, his flight was delayed and arrived at around 11PM when he was supposed to be on stage at 12AM or 1AM the latest.
When he got to the venue at around 2AM following delays at immigration, Sjava started doing his rituals, burning incense behind the stage for a good 30 to 45 minutes.
“You know working with Sjava you would think with the way he sings his music, love songs, soft and all, that he is that in actual character. He didn’t want to be pictured; he was having none of it. When we got to the venue, he started doing his rituals behind the stage. He comes back after 20 minutes and then goes back again and then comes back after 45 minutes. Does another 30 minutes sound check.
“He finally performed but he didn’t even sleep in the hotel. They just checked in and then left with the first flight out of Zimbabwe as he had another commitment,” said Mdu.
Mdu is a father of three children with different women.
“It came very late for me. I started having my kids when I was a bit older, I was 38. I think it came at a point when I’m now more mature and I’m slowing down and I love all my children with all my heart. It has brought a sense of stability. I was never close to my step dad, but this is why I want to be involved in my children’s life,” said Mdu. — @bonganinkunzi