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This and that Mal'phosa - The Stars Are here, Great!

10 Jan 2016 at 11:18hrs | Views
Picture this; a 15 year old boy just moved to Bulawayo with his parents. Just like his parents, he is a cheerful, humble, respectful, sociable, God fearing boy. He does not look very ambitious and seems to have accepted his fate as a son of a factory worker. And nothing in his shy bearing betrays his other talents and dreams. He is just a boy, like the rest of them in the streets.

He is introduced to me as a good foot ball player with deft skills and wonderful fighting spirit. Well, I have seen him many times tailing his father, together with his younger brother, as they go to church every Sunday. Am skeptical about these boys who go to church but still want to play a game as physical and at times as brutal as soccer. But I decide to give this one a chance and boy was I wrong!
He reminded me of the great Makheyi Nyathi with his amazing skill and shooting prowess. He is a natural athlete, very tactiful and hard to out run or beat to the ball. We come from behind to beat a team from aTownship across the road 3 -1, with this young man scoring a rare double and assisting in the third goal. But he was still humble about it. 'I was only lucky.' And beacause he could play any position,I decided to built the team around him - until some teacher hijacked my team and destroyed it.

Fast forward to 2015, that boy is a married man now, a leader, a father and nolonger that raw soccer player. He is now a cultural ambassador with unique creative powers and a voice so powerful it took some convincing from someone who has seen him on stage for me to say, may be this is him! But yes, this is him. Heard of the name Great Stars? This is the group that this once prolific soccer player, Philani Donga, formed in 2011. It comprises mostly his brothers and cousins, Samuel and Bongani Donga, Lawrence and Ronnie Ndiweni, Tymon Njiba, Mthokozisi, Gladwell and Gladmore Moyo and Nhlanganiso Mzizi.  

Great Stars are on a mission to spread the message of love peace and harmony, especially to married couples, and to keep our culture alive. Philani Donga is the leader and song write for this very promising Imbube group. They all hail from Isilobela in the Midlands but are based in Nkulumane Five. Their main thrust is to develop the nation and remind us ukuthi sivelaphi. As a Donga, do you know your family tree or izangelo zakho? And as a young man, uyakwazi ukuqomisa and what to do usuqonyiwe?

This group of rare talent has already released an album and will be recording a second one soon. They perform anywhere in the country - weddings, parties, funerals, shows and competitions.

And the reviews are coming thick and fast from satisfied and excited show goers who have seen these young men in action. One woman who had just seen them at her sons wedding said had she thoroughly enjoyed these boys and would love to see them again - at her own wedding. She says they are so good and talented it is hard to put into words how much she enjoyed their performance. One neighbour said, 'It was so wonderful to see these boys, especially the Donga boy from next door, on stage. What a performance! They truly emit peace, love and harmony within their harmonies and dancing skills. What a fabulous way to spend an afternoon!' Philani's former teacher said of them; 'High energy and big fun, these young stars sang amazing a-capella coupled with deep, rich language; something very rare in their age group. Will see them again.' And their former team mate who is now a security guard in the city of Joburg says, 'Coach, I saw Philani's gropu perform; the music, the voices and the narrative are unforgatabble. I had a great experience and one I will never forget.' He says he loved the music, dancing, humour, great voices and the enthusiasm and joy the group exhibited and exuded.

I totally agree with him. These boys are uplifting and the harmonies are so soothing, full of hope, full of teaching and the boys clearly enjoy themselves. Their style is ageless and transcends culture, language and all other artificial barriers dividing humanity. Through their songs, they encourage people not to forget who they are - and nomatter who you are, love yourself and love and respect other people too. This is the best and strongest foundation for nation building.  After listening to their offering, I have made up my mind I want to see them in person and experience the magic.

I have seen so many S'cathamiya groups come and go unnoticed - the list is long - right from primary schools to beer drinking places or churches. I wonder why we are not so proud of our culture. Is it too embarrassing to be black and traditional? Icons like the great Black Mambazo started from such humble beginnings. Look where they are now - Grammy Award Winners and more - because of the assistsnce they got from their families, friends, business communities, promoters, and other established gropus. Instead of having someone Jamaica outside curtain-rase for a Majaivana show, why can't we have our own great stars do it. Instead of hiring 'Kudya Kwe Donghi' to perform at our weddings, why can't we treat ourselves to something so purely traditional, refreshing and totally entertaining? Instead of having Salif Keita playing back ground music in that 'Qilindini' soapie or drama, why can't we be soothed by performances we can enjoy and easiyly identify with? Instead of bringing a group from Gudo Rechipiri area to perform at your rally in Bulawayo, NyamayeNdlovu, Mbuma, Kezi or Gwanda, why can't we show off our heritage to other nations too? These boys are a very good thing waiting to happen to the musical world. They also have dreams to represent us at world stages and conquer the world like Black Mambazo have done. All of us are where we are because someone somewhere helped us, direclty or indirectly. This is the meaning of giving back to the community.

Asked where he sees his group ten years from now he says, 'Malume, kukhul;u okuzayo!' You go boy! Only you can make your dreams come true! Anyone who would love to have this phenominal group perform for them anywhere, please get hold of the leader on 077 479 0538. Ngiyabonga mina! 

Abakithi baya le! Great Stars at full flight at a wedding in the city.

Source - Clerk Ndlovu
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