James ‘Jimmy’ Chimombe
James Chimombe
BornJames Chimombe
Njanja, Chivhu
  • Musician.
Years active1968 - 1990
OrganizationOcean City Band who were resident at Club HideOut 99 during the Golden 80s Era.
Known forShona Love Ballads
Notable workJemedza; Jikinya; Bindura; Siya Wawoneka;
Home townHighfield

James Chimombe was a talented Zimbabwean vocalist and guitarist who is regarded as one of the post-Independence revolutionaries in the music business. He rose to national stardom in the early 1980s with hits such as 'Chigwaya' and 'George Mudiwa' which transformed Zimbabwean music from what it was in the colonial era to what it is today.


He was born in Chivhu in 1951 and raised in the capital Harare in Highfield. His son, Freddy Chimombe who wanted to revive his father's legacy released an album titled 'Nherera', which unfortunately did not do well.[1] He attended the Zimbabwe College of Music.

Music career

Chimombe started his career while attending a school in Highfield and this is where he first learned to play the guitar. To gain more experience and to horn his career, he joined the Pop Settlers band as a vocalist with the Harare Mambos.[2] He also played with the Acid Band, the Ocean City Band, Huchi Band and the OK Success. It was with the latter that his talent was first discovered when he wrote “George Mudiwa” for the band in the 1970s. However, credit was given to the whole band rather than the individual.[3] The band instantly became popular and started playing in nightclubs and was contracted by the manager Paul Tangi Mhova Mkondo to perform at Mushandira Pamwe Hotel in Highfield for nearly three years before Chimombe decided to form his own band. Apart from the afore mentioned bands, he also spent a considerable amount of time playing with a rhumba outfit, the Real Sounds of Africa band since his music was at first inclined towards rhumba. In 1982 he released his first single, 'Chigwaya' which became an instant hit. The following year he joined an already existing band, Ocean City Band, as lead vocalist and guitarist. The band became the resident band at Paul Tangi Mhova Mkondo and Maud Mkondo’s Restaurant, Sports Club and Night Club called Club HideOut 99 situated between Lochinvar and Southerton. Mkondo and Chimombe along other legendary musicians knew each other from the days of Highfields entertainment at Mutanga and Mushandira Pamwe as Mkondo was the pioneering music promoter who had the license approved. It is reported that this combination proved to be the peak of Chimombe as most of his hits songs such as 'Cecilia', 'Siya Waoneka', 'Mavanga' and 'Jikinya' were recorded with this group. He later left the band in 1988, to form his own 'Huchi Band' with whom he recorded two albums.

As Music Teacher

Chimombe gave back to the community by teaching youngsters to play music through the ethnomusicology programme of the Zimbabwe College of Music.


  • The best of James Chimombe (October 1991)
  • Jemedza
  • Greatest Hits Volume 1
  • Greatest Hits Volume 2 [4]

Top Songs

  1. Mukuwasha
  2. Muchiti Mugere
  3. Zvaitika
  4. Siya Wawoneka
  5. Jemedza
  6. Zviwuya Zvirimberi
  7. Kudakwashe
  8. Chawana Mumwe
  9. Cecilia
  10. Zvakaoma
  11. Bindura
  12. Munakandafa
  13. Masutu [5]
  14. Muchiti mugere
  15. Jemedza
  16. Siya wamoneka
  17. Zvaitika
  18. Muchiti mugere
  19. Mukuwasha
  20. Mavanga
  21. Nherera


James Chimombe - Zvaitika


Chimombe died in 1990 and is suspected to have been HIV positive, but this does not diminish how much he was loved by the people of Zimbabwe, especially people from Highfield in Harare and Bindura.


  1. Chr, Music legends’ sons struggle to fit into fathers’ shoes, 'Chronicle', Published: 11 Feb, Retrieved: 9 Apr 2014
  2. Wonder Guchu, James Chimombe's music refuse to die, 'Intimacy With Zim Musicians', Published: 28 Feb 2012, Retrieved: 9 Apr 2014
  3. Fred Zindi, Did Chibadura, Chimombe predict their deaths?., 'Herald', Published: 16 Aug 2011, Retrieved: 9 Apr 2014
  4. James Chimombe, 'iTunes', Published: ND, Retrieved: 9 Apr 2014
  5. The Best of James Chimombe, 'Africa Entertained', Published: ND, Retrieved: 8 Apr 2014