Tendai Gahamadze (Left) and Chaka Chakandika (Right)

Tendayi (Samaita) Gahamadze is a Zimbabwean artist and songwriter.


Gahamadze was born on August 14, 1959 in a family of 10, five boys and five girls in Mashonaland West Province in Zimbabwe. He is married to Eve and the couple has three daughters. He did his primary education at Mkwasha Primary School and went to Moleli High School.[1] Gahamadze got a scholarship to study Pure Maths, Applied Maths and Physics and left for the United Kingdom in 1979. He completed his A-Levels in 1981 and got another scholarship to study metallurgy in Germany.


Tendayi Gahamadze was a member of a school choir at a tender age and learnt to play instruments when he was in the UK. He was fascinated by the sound of Mbira but never imagined he would one day play this instrument. Whilst in Germany he was astounded when one day at a seminar in Essen he and his fellow Zimbabwean students had no option but to sing Ishe Komborera Africa in contrast with the Congolese and Latin American students who played their Rhumba and Salsa music respectively. On coming back to Zimbabwe he was told that it had been prophesied that he would be a prominent mbira player. He just brushed it aside and wondered how at age 30 he would learn to play this instrument. Between 1987 and 1988, Gahamadze spent more than a year in Mhondoro at a traditional shrine where many traditional ceremonies were held and it was recommended to him by a spirit called Choshata that he should buy himself a mbira.

With this Mbira he went to another Mbira manufacturer, Seke, who made two more mbiras of the same tuning for him. He left Choshata's shrine for Norton where his family was. With him now was a set of three mbiras which he could not play. It just happened overnight, as it were, that he started playing the mbira without being directly by anyone. He started teaming up with different mbira players and performing with them at cultural ceremonies and gatherings. Worth mentioning are Magwimbe Mlambo and Wilfred Mafrika who were with him in the beginning of the unfolding of this mystery. Having had some guitar band experience with college bands during his time at university Tendayi went on to buy guitar pick-ups and started manufacturing his own mbiras and electrifying them. He formed the group Mbira dzeNharira which had its first recording, Rine Manyanga Hariputirwe, in 1998 which instantly topped the charts. To date Mbira dzeNharira has won five musical awards and are determined to take the mbira to greater heights.

In 1987, Gahamadze formed the band Mbira dzeNharira. The group was pregnant for 11 years and finally in 1998 gave birth to their first born, the debut album Rine Manyanga Hariputirwe, which became an instant household phenomenon with the hit songs Ndoenda Kwaambuya, Magamba, Muchati Kudiiko, Tatadzeiko and Kumakorodzi.


  1. Constance van Niekerk, [1], The Herald, Published: 19 August, 2013, Accessed: 26 September, 2020