Tymon Mabaleka (1949/1950 – 27 June 2014) was a Zimbabwean footballer and music producer. He was nicknamed The Whitehorse. His career lasted for nearly twenty years in sports and another fifteen years in the music industry.
Mabaleka was born in Nswazi in Umzingwane District in Matabeleland South Province. Tymon was the the second born in a family of nine made up of six boys and three girls. He attended Losikeyi Primary School in Bulawayo. He studied at Mpopoma High School and later moved to Mzilikazi High School.
He played for Highlanders Football Club. Tymon began his illustrious career at Eastlands before moving to Highlanders in 1973. That season is considered as the turning point for the once docile giant in semi-professional football. Bosso who had been promoted back to the elite league after topping the lower division in 1972 following their demotion in 1971 when they finished with a paltry seven points, relied on the brilliance of players like Tymon to assert themselves as one of Zimbabwe’s top sides.
With Tymon in the thick of things alongside Cavin Duberly, Lawrence Phiri, Billy Sibanda, Edward Dzowa, Kenny Luphahla, Mike Mpofu, Peter Bhebhe, Ananias Dube, Josiah Nxumalo and Boet Van Ays, Highlanders won their first major title – the 1973 Chibuku Trophy and regional title.
As a footballer Tymon was regarded among the best controllers of the ball with his chest and with guided headers. A former teammate Lawrence Phiri from Gaborone, Botswana was at loss of words when he heard about the death of Tymon. “Honestly it has come as a shock to me, I still can’t believe that it’s true. We played together and I have so many happy memories about him,” said Phiri who played with Tymon for almost a decade.
He was called up to the national team several times and finally hung up his boots in 1982 when he transferred to Harare to become a music producer. He worked for Gallo Records.
He was one of the country’s most revered music producers having done works for the late Oliver Mtukudzi, James Chimombe, Lovemore Majaivana and Solomon Skuza and the Fallen Heroes under Gallo Records later known as Zimbabwe Music Corporation’s Kudzanayi label before it finally merged with Gramma Records.
Mabaleka became one of the directors of the company working alongside Ralph Glover, Tony Rivett, John Grant, the late Elvis Chimene and Silvanos Mutizwa. These “boys” had migrated from Bulawayo to Harare in search of greener pastures. The Bulawayo branch of Zimbabwe Music Corporation was manned by the late Elijah Ngwenya and Abel Jonga who remained there for family reasons.
Mabaleka, in his capacity as music producer, produced one of Matabeleland’s most recognised and adorable musicians, the legendary Lovemore Majaivana (who had also moved to Harare) with albums like Stimela, Salanini Zinini, Sono Sami Kuleliyani’zwe, Dabuka Mhlaba, Inyoni Bani Engelamathambo, Mkhwenyana, Bambulele uMajola, to name a few.
Mabaleka also produced the late Solomon Skuza’s Love and Scandals album and many more of Solomon Skuza’s hits. In his passion for high quality productions, he also came up with gems such as Ebony Sheikh’s Emhlabeni Kunzima, Shepherd Chinyani and the Vhuka Boys’ Mai Vakakosha, Mugove by Leonard Zhakata, the late John Chibadura’s collections. He worked and produced some of the top hits from Oliver Mtukudzi and Ilanga.