By Anna Chibamu
ZIMBABWEAN music legend Zexie Smart Kugariga Manatsa, who died last Thursday, was buried at Warren Hills cemetery on Sunday amid calls for government and stakeholders to help promote upcoming artists.
Manatsa succumbed to cancer.
Sports deputy minister Tino Machakaire admitted to mourners that the music industry had been full of challenges that needed urgent attention.
“The music industry has lots of challenges. Manatsa had six boys and we are committed to fulfilling what we promised. Let us do what we promised to him. There is no bigger party in the world than sport and music. Politics must follow after love. He was a loving man,” Machakaire said.
“I am pained by what happened last on Wednesday. I was busy looking for players from Caps United, Dynamos and Highlanders. We met and the teams were ready but we do not plan for our day. Anytime one can lose a life. We have no control over our lives.”
“Let us all stand by God. Manatsa came to my office and l also returned the favour by visiting him at his home. He prayed for me at my office and even when l visited him at his home,” Machakaire said.
Legendary poet Albert Nyathi appealed to the Harare City Council for a piece of land to have an arts centre for artists.
He commended Manatsa for his efforts in unifying Zimbabweans through music, playing a big role in the growth of the industry.
“Manatsa played a big role in ensuring the growth of music in this country. I am grateful for the work he did for all musicians. I have an appeal to make. We have been writing to Harare City council for a piece of land to build an arts centre, but it is now 17 years without success. What does it take really for government to do that? What was the purpose of having the Murewa Culture Centre? We can develop the Arts industry in the country. I salute you Father Manatsa,” Nyathi said.
Manatsa’s wife Stella spoke about the immense love that Manatsa had for everyone and how he worked so hard to uplift the lives of many young talented musicians in the late 80s till his death.
“Manatsa died peacefully. He said I love you, my wife. My loving husband, my friend, we were one. 50 years in marriage. Ufambe zvakanaka my love,” Stella said to hundreds of mourners who gathered at his residence in Harare to pay their last respects.
Manatsa’s burial coincided with the death of another music icon Oliver Mtukudzi who died three years ago and was remembered by Manatsa’s children who sang a song in honour of “Tuku” during the funeral.
One of Mtukudzi’s daughters Selmor (musician) is married to Manatsa’s sons.
National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) director Nicholas Moyo urged Zimbabweans to continue supporting Manatsa’s family beyond the funeral wake.
“Comforting starts after the funeral. We have a project to complete. So, we worked with Zex Manatsa. Today is the 3rd Anniversary of Tuku’s death. Today, three years ago we mourned a legend Tuku but today, we are mourning his mentor Manatsa. H was a man who knew how to mentor others. I am proud to say we requested the government to recognise this man,” Moyo said.
“We do not want to recognise people post posthumously. Let’s honour owner each other while we are alive. He was a unifier. He wanted to fight hooliganism in the stadiums, bring sanity and unity in our grounds,” Moyo highlighted.
The late Simon Chimbetu’s son, Sulumani concurred with Moyo saying his father was mentored by Manatsa.
A devoted family man who had committed his life to God, becoming a Pastor at the ZAOGA ministries was also described by church leaders as a happy man, who used to drink alcohol but gave his life to God.
“As Bishops, we have lost our senior Pastor who was a man of true love. We have lost a friend. Senior Pastor, we want one of your sons to take your legacy further.”
A friend of his, Daniel Maseko was praised by family members for helping Manatsa during his heydays.