Sulumani Chimbetu

Sulu unmoved by reports the Chimbetu family is tearing apart

DENDERA musician Sulumani Chimbetu says he is not moved by those trying to sidetrack him from keeping his father’s legacy alive through peddling falsehoods about an imaginary family rift.

Sulumani, the son of the late Dendera king Simon Chimbetu, said the family dispute issue was now a tired anecdote, which was being advanced by only a handful of people bent on destroying the Chimbetu legacy.

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Last night the Zikomo singer hosted a virtual commemorative gig in honour of his late father, where he shared the stage with some of the country’s best acts, including Alick Macheso, Jah Signal, Pitsou Lumiere, Roki, Diana Samkange and Jean Masters.

Unlike previous editions, Sulu left out the other Chimbetu siblings and chose to run the show with outsiders, who sang Chopper’s old songs backed by Sulumani’s Orchestra Dendera Kings.

The new set-up was met with mixed reactions from Dendera music followers, who felt Sulumani could have left other Chimbetu’s offspring in the cold.

Sulumani Chimbetu and his family at the grave of the late Simon Chimbetu in Chinhoyi on Heroes Day last Monday

His uncle Allan Chimbetu last week told the media that Sulumani had not reached out to them with regards to the Chopper commemorations. Allan, who was part of Chopper’s entourage at Orchestra Dendera Kings, described the development as unfortunate.

However, Sulumani said he never wanted to see divisions within the family and was working very hard to keep a bond among the Chimbetu siblings.

“That’s just speculative talk propelled by the commemorative concert, which is not centralised on the family,” said Sulumani. “We actually extended invitations to the family, which I think they couldn’t make it due to other commitments.”

Sulumani said last night’s commemorative gig took a different route with the aim of fulfilling the late musician’s cherished dream of uniting musicians. Previous editions have been confined to the Chimbetu kinfolk and Sulumani said the family is instrumental in honouring the late great musician.

“Douglas Chimbetu was part of the preparations of the commemorative gig. “Those family members, who did not attend could have other commitments,” Sulumani said.

He said the family rift issue only props up when they are organising the Chopper concert.

“This family dispute thing is a tired story peddled by those, who want to destroy the Chimbetu legacy,” Sulumani said. “I am not backtracking on this Chopper commemorative gig. We are looking forward at taking this concert across the continent. We want to make it a regional concert, a festival to be precise.”

Chopper died on August 15, 2005 and was declared a provincial liberation war hero. He was buried at the Mashonaland West provincial heroes’ shrine in Chinhoyi.

The Chimbetu siblings have over the years headlined the commemorations and kept the charter within the Chimbetu clan.

Last night’s commemorative gig themed The Music Lives was held online via Nash TV.

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