In the groove: Bob Nyabinde benefit concert reviewed

Bob Nyabinde (right) and his son Aggabu

Bob Nyabinde is one of Zimbabwe’s most revered high-profile musicians. Bob aka ‘the Headmaster’ Nyabinde was diagnosed with diabetes in 2018 and consequently his eyesight began to fail.

To make matters worse, the multi award winning Afro Jazz crooner suffered a stroke in 2020. He spent three weeks at St. Giles Rehabilitation Centre where he received occupational therapy and physiotherapy, thus stalling his decades long music career. As if that was not enough, Bob had to go through hip-replacement surgery last Sunday after an accident at home.

All these things incapacitated Bob from his beloved career of entertaining audiences through music. He has had a lot of medical expenses to deal with. However, this was left to Harare’s compassionate and generous music promoters, Josh Hozheri and Chipaz aka Partson Chimbodza (whom I shall call ‘Angel Advocates’) as well as his sons, Aggabu and Albert; hence the music benefit concert held in his name last Sunday.

Josh and Chipaz arranged the performances and they also donated US$500 towards the fund.  A big thank you goes to these generous promoters. Well done, my friends.

Secondly, thanks go to all the musicians who supported this event to cushion Nyabinde’s medical bills.

Last Sunday, on the 22nd October, a well- attended benefit concert was held at the Sherwood Golf Club in Mabelreign, Harare to support the afflicted Bob Nyabinde as well as to assist him with his medical expenses.

First of all, we thank the management and venue owners of Sherwood Golf Club who made this fundraising venture a possibility by donating their facility to enable musicians to perform at this venue. They also had the human heart to it as ten percent (10%) from their alcohol sales, as announced, was donated towards the Bob Nyabinde benefit fund.

What many people don’t realise when they want to do shows at clubs: venues can’t just give away their venues. If they are personally connected to somebody they may do so. Some will ask you to pay for the use of electricity, or to pay for the cleaning up bill and still say that they have given you the venue for free. Sherwood Golf Club gave its venue to Nyabinde’s Benefit show for free and even donated some money. That was really benevolent in this regard and we thank them.

Fellow musicians rallied their loyal fan bases and donated their time, merchandise and music towards this concert with everyone hoping for a positive financial outcome. Although, I am not privy to the figures, since I was not part of the organisation, announcements made at the concert included one individual donating US$1,500, a corporate company donating US$4,000 and individuals like Richard Mvududu and Benjamin Nyandoro coming up with donations of US$100 each.  Filbert Marova, a fellow musician, did not want his donation announced but he was generous enough to give money towards this fund. This was encouraging and hopefully, Bob’s life will be made a lot easier.

 Artistes who performed at the event included songbird, Tariro neGitare, Kessia Magosha, Albert Nyathi,, Victor Kunonga, Mono Mukundu, Poshi, Josh Meki, Evans Mapfumo, Kireni Zulu Tanga wekwa Sando, Baba Mechanic Manyeruke (of the Madhimoni and Tsitsi Dzenyu fame), Steve Chikoti, Assegai Crew, Kurai and Nyabinde’s sons, Aggabu and Albert.

When I got to the venue, the Teach Them Young Marabi musician from Zvishavane, Kireni Zulu was performing. He gave his best shot during his performance and the crowd loved it.

After a while, super energetic and multi-talented Kessia Magosha/Masona jumped onto the stage where she went to jam the song Sweat (Alalalalalalong song by Inner Circle) with a band she had not met before. Her singing and infectious gyrations were out of this world. The crowd went wild.

Into her second song at this outdoor venue, which had a stage that had been built with a plastic roof over it, it started to rain. Everyone was having a good time in the crowd but had to run for cover. Crummy weather be damned!

 With less equipment indoors because the main P.A. system had been removed, assisted by Mono Mukundu, Aggabu and Albert Nyabinde sang a few of Bob Nyabinde’s famous tunes including Chabuda Hapana and Pane Nyaya.

Assegai Crew who came all the way from Mutare to support this event did their best. They sang Kanyama Karipi together with a few cover versions which included One Love in perfect harmony. The crowd was ecstatic. 

Then came Tariro ne Gitare. True to her word, she strummed her six stringed acoustic guitar to a rendition of Mazuva Haafanani. She continued to soothe the audience with three more tunes. The crowd who all clapped at the end of her set appreciated it.

Victor Kunonga Evans Mapfumo, Steve Chikoti, Gweru-based Poshi Davira and Tanga Wekwa Sando then followed.  The latter artist opened his set with Hapana Asina Wake.

Many artistes I spoke to told me that they were glad to be part of this benefit concert. Some had given up performances due to Covid 19 in the past two years, but it was good to see such a beautiful crowd coming together for a good cause. Live music needs the people’s support right now.

A former headmaster at a school in Kwekwe in the country’s Midlands Province, Nyabinde who was still in hospital during the time of the concert last Sunday, extended a word of advice to his colleagues in the music industry to adhere to regular medical check-ups, claiming his own loss of sight came as a bolt from the blue.Although Nyabinde claimed that at one time a medical doctor fore-warned him about his unquenchable appetite for soft drinks, telling him that the carbonated drinks would one day trigger diabetes in him, he turned a deaf ear to the warning.

 It was not until one day when he fell off the stage during a performance at Leopard Rock Motel in Vumba near Mutare after his sight completely blacked out that he realised that those warnings he  used to get were real. True to the warnings the doctors who attended to him at a clinic in Mutare pronounced that his eyes had been badly affected by diabetes, a disease he never knew he had.

 After this diagnosis, Bob had this to say:

“I am responsible for what happened to my eyes because I never had the chance to visit a clinic or doctor to have diabetes and eyes checked for years mainly because I was too committed to my career as a musician.

“I am a widower after having lost my wife in 2007 so I am totally dependent on my sons, Agga and Albert, who are also musicians.”  

Bob Nyabinde, born on the 10th March, in 1955, grew up in Mutare where he learned to play the guitar and compose songs. After his tertiary education, he moved to Kwekwe where he was a headmaster at a primary school, hence the moniker ‘The Headmaster’ before he decided to leave that profession to become a full-time musician.

Nyabinde is one of the most celebrated musical talents in Zimbabwe, widely known mostly for his song Chabuda Hapana released in 2002 from his debut album Pane Nyaya which topped charts and made waves on local radio stations.

At the peak of his career, Bob Nyabinde churned out more chart-topping tracks such as Hapana, Zvipingaidzo, Rudo, Samanyika, Teerera, Wandikona, Kusiya Vana Vega, Zvinoreveiko and Ndiratidze Mumwe Chete.

Bob needs our help and, in my opinion, while the benefit concert assisted in giving him the publicity about his condition, there is no way it could have raised enough money to pay for his living and hospital expenses which are running into thousands of U.S. dollars. I am proud to know that he swallowed his pride and allowed us to help him.

The greatest gift you can ever give someone is letting them help you when you need it most……any person that’s ever in need, realise you’re giving somebody a gift when you let them help. It’s hard for people to see that.

We get humble when we are in our worst situations, and we shouldn’t let being humble be confused with being humiliated.

Because you’re not being humiliated; you’re giving people that love you a chance to help you, and that’s a true gift.

To those who could not make it to the concert which was held for a good cause, you still have a chance to make a donation in whatever form of currency suits you the best.

There are many “angel advocates” out there. If you are one of them, Bob Nyabinde still needs your donations. If you can help, please do send your donations to him through his sons as follows:

 Aggabu Nyabinde,: cell 0772408481

Zipit, Steward Bank, Avondale Branch Account Number 1008352678

 Or Ecocash to Albert Nyabinde: cell  0772 704 304: 

If it’s in USD Nostro at ZB Bank 4556798492501 Aggabu Nyabinde Account.

 Bob belongs to us. Let us deal with his needs. After all, charity begins at home.

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