Leonard Dembo

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Leonard Dembo (Musoro WeNyoka)
Leonard Dembo, Kwangwarai Gwaindepi, Zimbabwean Musician
BornKwangwarai Gwaindepi
(1959-02-06)February 6, 1959
DiedApril 9, 1996(1996-04-09) (aged 37)
EducationChembira Primary School
  • Musician.
Years active1982 to 1996
Home townMasvingo
Spouse(s)Eunice Dembo (nee Munatsi)
ChildrenMorgan Dembo(son), Tendai Dembo(son), Fenistia Dembo (daughter)
Parent(s)Sukai Pasipanodya (Mother)

Leonard Dembo who was affectionately known as Musoro weNyoka was a talented Zimbabwean Sungura musician, songwriter and a guitarist who rose to stardom with his hit "Chitekete" which was played as a signature tune at the 1996 Miss World Pageant which was held in Namibia.[1]


Dembo was born Kwangwarai Gwaindepi on 6 February 1959 in Chivi in Masvingo to Sukai Pasipanodaya.[2] He grew up being catered for by his mother in the absence of a father who had left the family. He went to different primary schools in Buhera, Bulawayo and he finally completed his primary education at Chembira Primary School in Mbare.[3] From Chembira, he relocated to Bulawayo in search of employment. He, however, relocated to Harare after 1980. He married Eunice Munatsi in August 1994. His two sons, Morgan Dembo and Tendai Dembo took it upon themselves to revive Dembo's band, The Barura Express. They however eventually parted ways.

Leonard Dembo also had a daughter Fen­is­tia Dembo.

Music career

It is reported that at age 9, Dembo was already interested in music and was determined to be a musician. After having failed to secure a job in Bulawayo, he focused more on developing his music career. Dembo joined the Spiders Band which was based in Zvimba together with Cyril Chinyani.[3] In 1982, he relocated to Harare where he joined The Outsiders and he subsequently released his first hit single, Venenzia.[4] He left the group and joined the Five Notes releasing songs such as "Mainge Majaira Matsotsi".

In 1985, he formed his band the Barura Express recording a number of songs that have stood the test time and still have relevance, decades after their composition. Although Venenzia was described by many as a timeless hit, it was "Chitekete" that really established Dembo as a distinct artist. So popular was the song that it was played at the Miss World Pageant in Namibia in 1996 and the song was also voted Zimbabwe's Silver Jubilee best song, despite competing with other great compositions such as "Mugove" by Leonard Zhakata. Dembo's glittering talent as a musician also comes out in the fact that of all his songs, even those they brought him international recognition, none were written down.[5]

Dembo is said to have been a very camera shy artists who only managed to record just two videos in his music career.[6] Dembo shared the stage with other prominent African musicians such as Kanda Bongo Man and Sakis at the Harare International Conference Centre. It is widely speculated that although Dembo only recorded two videos, the family is said to have videos of the Barura Express legend holding live shows at Stodart Hall in Mbare, Rusununguko Beerhall in Chitungwiza and Mkoba Stadium in Gweru. One of the greatest hits by Dembo titled "Chitekete" was said to have been discarded after several band members had walked away from Dembo.[7] The song was only retrieved after Dembo was convinced by Innocent Mjintu to revive the project and release Chitekete. As fate would have it, the song Chitekete went on to become a runaway success.

The song Chitekete was voted Zimbabwe’s Silver Jubilee Best Song ahead of other outstanding tracks ever produced in Zimbabwe such as Mugove by Leonard Zhakata.

In 1992, while performing at the University of Zimbabwe's Students' Union Cafeteria Dembo was harassed by the institution's students. He performed from 9pm until midnight. Halfway through the performance, Dembo decided to take a break to go to the toilet. About a dozen drunk students followed him to the toilet and started to harass him.

Fred Zindi said he came to Leonard Dembo's rescue as some had started pulling his shirt by the collar while others were trying to pull down his trousers.[8]


After having suffered a severe nosebleed after a show in Makoni in 1995, Leonard Dembo never fully recovered. The musician is said to have continued suffering from acute headaches and at times partial hearing that were all a result of the severe blood loss caused by the nose bleeding.[5] It was reported that he ended up residing at Madzibaba Nzira's shrine seeking healing.[3] He died on 9 April 1996.


  • Mai neVana Vavo (1984)
  • Murombo
  • Nhamo Moto (1986)
  • Kuziva Mbuya Huudzwa (1987)
  • Sharai (Single 1987)
  • Kukura Kwedu (1988)
  • Ruva Rashe (1989)
  • Kukura Hakutani (1990)
  • Chitekete (1991)
  • Tinokumbira Kurarama (1992)
  • Mazano (1993)
  • Nzungu Ndamenya (1994)
  • Paw Paw (1995)
  • Shiri Yakangwara (1996)
  • Babamunini (Single 1996)
  • Ndirimudiki (Single 1996) [9]

Music Videos

Leonard Dembo- Chinyemu

Leonard Dembo- Zii Zii


Leonard Dembo - Funga Zuva Rimwe Pagore

Leonard Dembo - Ndibatsireiwo Ndanzwa

leonard dembo namatso - mazano


  • Dembo is believed to have recorded only two videos, but it was however reported that his family has secret videos of some of his live shows which he held in Chitungwiza, Gweru and Mbare.[10]
  • He was one of the very first black people to buy a house in Belvedere suburb, an area which was percieved as a safe haven for Indians after 1980.
  • He also bought a Toyota Cressida in the mid 1980s which was one of the best cars on the market during the time.


  1. Wonder Guchu The man who inspired Tongai Moyo was media shy, but talented - Leonard Dembo, Intimacy With Zim Musicians, Published: October 17, 2001, Retrieved: July 9, 2014
  2. Dembo remembered, "The Herald", Published:9 Apr 2012, Retrieved:5 February 2015"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Tapfumaneyi Chirikure, The man who inspired Tongai Moyo was media shy, but talented - Leonard Dembo, "Intimacy with Zim Musicians", Published:17 Oct 2011, Retrieved:5 February 2015
  4. EVERYTHING ABOUT LEONARD DEMBO, "Facebook", Published: 15 February 2013, Retrieved: 5 February 2015
  5. 5.0 5.1 Garikai Mazara Remembering the great Leonard Dembo, Nehanda Radio, Published: April 8, 2013, Retrieved: July 9, 2014
  6. Godwin Muzari Leonard Dembo’s secret videos unearthed, News Day, Published: August 28, 2013, Retrieved: May 26, 2015
  7. Tapfumanei Chirikure The man who inspired Tongai Moyo was media shy, but talented - Leonard Dembo, Intimacy with Zim Musicians, Published: October 17, 2011, Retrieved: May 26, 2015
  8. Fred Zindi, Zimbabwe: Even Leonard Dembo was heckled, Music In Africa, Published: November 22, 2017, Retrieved: April 8, 2022
  9. Misa, Dembos legacy lives on, The Zimbabwean, Published: April 7, 2011, Retrieved July 9, 2014
  10. Godwin Muzari Leonard Dembo’s secret videos unearthed, "NewsDay", Published:28 Aug 2013,Retrieved:5 February 2015"

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