Assegai Crew

Assegai Crew is a Zimbabwean musical group formed in Mutare in 1991. Their song 'Amaibhoyi' went viral on all local radio stations, reaching number one, on the then Radio 3's 'Top 20'.

Background

Formed in 1991 in Mutare, original members of Assegai Crew included the late Stobart Chidikano, Herbert Keyara, Silas Makumbe, Totichii Makureya, Brian Nhanhanga, Brian Chiriga, Robert Chagora and Mike Moyo. In their formative years, Assegai Crew became popular for their expert delivery of covers from many genres, but soon began composing their own music, a fusion of ragga and Afro-pop with lyrics in Manyika which they branded ‘Ragga Manyika’.[1]

Their Work

The defunct Assegai Crew released their first album at Hi-Density Studios titled, Zvese Mari which carried the hit song ‘Amaibhoyi’ popularly known as ‘Kanyama Karipi’ in 1997 which became an instant hit and they attracted national attention. They got corporate contracts including the popular Softex advert that was adapted from the song “Mai Bhoyi” and stole the hearts of many ZTV viewers.The band went on to release a second album titled Nyarara in 1998.

However, as they had just begun gaining more ground with the surprise attack, death robbed Assegai Crew of their hitman. Chidikano fell ill in 1999 and eventually died in 2001. Wheels went off the rail. It was like a whirlwind, coming unexpectedly with force and swiftly whirling away. Remaining band members could not keep the momentum and more died within a few years. After the death of their lead vocalist they released their third album titled Mabororo Disaster in 2002 but it did not do well. The group split after they disagreed on the base as some contemplated Harare whilst some members wanted to stay in Mutare.

In 2014 the outfit regrouped and they recorded their fourth album titled “Tauya He” which was launched at the Book Cafe as a come-back trial. The album got considerable airplay, but still failed to make much impact. They worked on another album that was due to be released in 2017. They also got some contracts at Harare joints to do their shows.

In 2017 Makumbe was leading a new look youthful Assegai Crew and his passion to keep the group alive drove him on. With assistance from promoters like Mutare-businessman Bonface Nyamanindi of Club Mandisa, the band continued with live shows.

Their journey

It was in June 1996 when they went to Harare to try their luck and performed at Pensao Restaurant but they could not get enough to cover their costs. Busi Ncube saw them performing and she was impressed by their work and she approached them after the show and told them that she was looking for someone to fill her slot at George Hotel since she was going on leave for a month.

The following day they went to perform at George Hotel for the management to test them and they performed before Busi’s slot and people liked their act. The venue was packed and the way they did copyright tracks excited people and it was like they were regulars at the venue. People requested for various songs and they played for them.[2]

Some visitors from Malawi that attended one of the slots were impressed and in December 1996 Assegai Crew was invited to a festival in Malawi where they had shows from December 22 to January 2, 1997. They started introducing their own compositions at the show and they got support from people from Mutare like former minister Supa Mandiwanzira (who was a journalist then) and DJ Hosiah “Hitman” Sikende. They were introduced to Tendai Mupfurutsa and he invited them to his Hi-Density Studios to do their first recording.

Their Split

Artistes in the group, based in Manicaland province, went their separate ways in 2010 following the death of most founding members. Major among the disagreements was the issue of relocation by surviving members. Lawrence Karimanzira and Thomas Marimbita (Ras Angas) believed they could get better fortunes in Harare compared to Mutare, but other members that include Silas Makumbe were not in agreement and wanted to remain in Mutare. The split has led to the ‘death’ of the once popular outfit led by the talented late Stobart Chidikano of the ‘Kanyama Karipi’ fame whose video was shot at the popular Mereki joint in Warren Park, Harare. The break-up saw Thomas Marimbita and Lawrence Karimanzira forming their own separate band.[3]



References

  1. Netho Francisco, [1], The Patriot, Published: 5 February, 2015, Accessed: 20 April, 2020
  2. Godwin Muzari, [2], The Herald, Published: 22 June, 2017, Accessed: 20 April, 2020
  3. [3], The Sunday Mail, Published: 13 July, 2014, Accessed: 20 April, 2020