Don Gumbo was a prominent Ilanga member and bass guitarist he died in 1998. Ilanga is regarded as one of the most talented bands to grace the Zimbabwe music scene as it boasted of good and versatile vocalists and instrumentalists.


Gumbo was married and the couple had 5 children Doris, Doreen, Dionne, Duduzile and Don.[1]

Music career

Don Gumbo, who was from Bulawayo, played the bass guitar. He also supplied most of Ilanga’s vocals and many of the band’s hits are attributed to him. He was an incredible and unusual performer who could easily sing and at the same time playing the bass guitar, which supplied most of the band’s rhythm. It was not an easy feat given the amount of bass-playing dexterity and intricacies involved. Gumbo passed away in the late 1990s.

Ilanga Band

Ilanga was formed in 1986 by musicians who had grouped together after leaving their various groups. It was originally made of Don Gumbo, Andy Brown, Virgillio Ignacia, Gibson Nyoni, Charles Mangena, Keith Farquharson and Busi Ncube. When Mangena left he was replaced by the late Adam Chisvo as the percussionist.[2] When Mangena left he was replaced by the late Adam Chisvoas the percussionist. Ilanga went to record their first single “Thandiwe” which was produced and released on One World Label by Ben Miller, a veteran rock musician who owned a 16-track recording studio. Although this record was popular with local disc jockeys, it did not make a great deal of impact on the sales market. Undaunted, however, Ilanga continued to record “Song of Africa” and a few months later, “Botha”. The latter tune was taken by the Zimbabwe Music Corporation and promoted heavily, resulting in a slightly more improved market success. In 1987, the album “Visions Foretold” was recorded and its releases put Ilanga on the music map and one track “Shosholoza” Ras Munya left Ilanga after some disagreement on the direction of the music to form his own band, Transit Crew. Ilanga was later joined by a new drummer, Gibson Nyoni.

Their next massive release, “True Love”, came with the melodious voice of Busi on lead vocals. This was followed by the recording of their next album “Silver and Gold”, which saw the decline of Ilanga as it failed to capture the same magic waves and impact the first album had. It was immediately after the release of “Silver and Gold” that Andy Brown decided to leave Ilanga after a dispute with Don Gumbo. The band was later joined by a second keyboard player, Vigilio. Later releases include “Ilanga Road” which had some good tunes but failed to make an impact on the market. Keith also left the group straight after recording this album and by 1991 only Don Gumbo remained as the original member of Ilanga that was the end of Ilanga Band. Andy Brown went to base himself in South Africa but soon returned to Zimbabwe after recording the hit album, “Gondwanaland”, which rocked the Zimbabwean charts for almost six months with hits such as “Tichangoshaina” and “Zindoga”. Don Gumbo died in 1998 and Andy Brown died in 2013.[3]

  • Charles Mangena and the late Adam Chisvo were Ilanga’s percussionists. They gave the band the extra sound that made it possible for the public to easily identify the band Ilanga.
  • Keith Farquharson, born on December 8, 1973 in Harare, to a German mother played the keyboards for the band for a period of three years. It was through Keith that the image of the band added extra attraction. Keith left Ilanga in 1990 and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Another part-time member of Ilanga who would occasionally front the band was Dickson Chingaira also known as Chinx


  1. Richmore Tera, Gumbo Jnr follows in father’s footsteps, The Herald, Published: July 22, 2012, Retrieved: July 8, 2014
  2. Silence Charumbira, Ilanga reunion dream shattered, The Standard, Published: December 16, 2012, Retrieved: July 8, 2014
  3. Fred Zindi, The magic behind Ilanga, The Herald, Published: February 27, 2012, Retrieved: July 8, 2014