Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Reporter
MUSICIAN, songwriter, performer, percussionist and dancer Fatima Katiji aka Stimela is doing well in her solo career if her latest production is anything to go by.
Stimela is known for her role as a backing vocalist for Jah Prayzah’s Third Generation Band where the 38-year-old mother of one made herself a name.
This was after she had trained at Amakhosi Theatre in Bulawayo where she studied music and dance.
Before joining the Third Generation, Stimela was a member of an all-female group called Amakhosikazi.
She has also worked with Alexio Kawara, Diana Samkange, Josh Meck and as a lead vocalist for Five-Fold which was led by Hudson Simbarashe before she joined Jah Prayzah.
Chronicle Showbiz caught up with Stimella who recently released the track Shanda, a collaboration with Styles Melik, and has taken the national airwaves by storm.
She said the track goes on to give a glimpse of a journey which has been filled with bitter-sweet moments.
“I write what I see around me. People’s experiences and sometimes mine too. Words of encouragement for all to work hard regardless of the forces pulling us down.
“My music inspiration comes from my love of art and my sister Edith WeUtonga and there have been ups and downs in the industry which include having to work for as little as $5 and cater for my food and transport back home with the same $5,” said Stimela.
Going through the hard times, Stimela said was not easy for her in the industry.
“It feels great having to perform on huge platforms (festivals), meeting icons and role models across the globe. In my journey l have had challenges of being called a lady of the night because of my profession, also considering we work in a male-dominated industry. We also have not been given platforms as a female artiste and I’ve even had people mad at me because they believe women should always be at the back while males take the lead role,” said Stimela.
She said it’s pretty tough for a community to accept that a woman can also lead and advised female artistes to stand their ground.
“My fellow artistes give it dedication, time, perseverance, practice, practice practice and you’ll get to places you never imagined,” said Stimela.
She has recorded with various artistes like Thanda Richardson, Nesto, Gift Amuli, Tariro neGitare, Simbarashe and UK-based gospel artiste Jane Doka .
Her journey dates back over a decade where at one point she was an opening act at HIFA 2011 and also shared the stage with Chioniso Maraire and continues to work with many more artistes till date.
Stimela is also a studio session artiste and if she’s not on stage, she spends time with her kids at StimyBee Arts Factory (which she founded) grooming children from the age of five in dance, music and theatre.
Stimela has been in and out of the country working on an Opera entitled “NeHanda” with USA based Nora Chipaumire with whom she met in 2016 in theatre performing “Portrait of myself as my father.”
So far Stimela has performed NeHanda in USA at the River to River Festival in Connecticut, Italy at Short Theatre, Amsterdam, Germany, Spielberg Festival, Brussels and in Colorado where she also got the opportunity to teach students at Colorado College during their three week Block
She has singles namely Chipo (2013), Anondichengeta (2014), Garandichauya (2019) and Shanda (2022). – @mthabisi_mthire