WASHINGTON DC —
Many Zimbabweans who left the country as virtual unknowns, for the diaspora, have found themselves coming home as celebrities, of sorts.
Tawanda Kasaira for instance, born and raised in the high-density town of Chitungwiza, near Harare, left Zimbabwe in 2007 for neighboring Botswana.
Shortly thereafter Kasaira, known by his stage name Dr. Tawanda Benson, is now a household name in Zimbabwe, with such hits as Cheso Power Remix of one of Aleck Macheso’s songs.
But lately, he’s captured the country’s attention with another hit, titled simply, “Unconquerable,” which “came from nowhere,” as he explained in an interview with Studio 7.
“I was in the studio, programming drums, you know putting things together, some kongas, playing them. At the end of the day I was asking myself how best can I sing on top of this?”
The answer came almost immediately, he said.
“From nowhere as an artist, I just started like, unconquerable, unconquerable, unconquerable.”
Since its release, the song has struck a cord with many, including Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Dr. Tawanda Benson performed at one of her recent rallies in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central, to a rousing crowd.
He described his performance there as strictly business.
“Oh, well, yes, I was there and that’s true. I went there as an artist who was invited to provide a service,” he said.
As an artist, Dr. Tawanda Benson said he goes wherever he is invited, without too much regard for affiliation. He said it’s all about his fans.
“All I care about is, are my fans happy with my performance. Are my clients happy with my performance,” said Dr. Tawanda Benson. “Even if there is a funeral and they call me, I go there and sing, why, because they’ve got something that they love about my song that they called me for. So I go there. I do my job as an artist. I finish, I move out. This is business.”
The popular song has, however, attracted some unwelcome controversy of late, with some saying it is tribalist because it seeks to portray the Zezuru, a group of people mostly from Mashonaland provinces as “unconquerable”. Zezuru is a dialect of the Shona language.
Aware of the spin, the singer and producer said he can’t control what people do with his music, but his original intent was never to offend.
Outside Zimbabwe, Dr. Tawanda Benson said he’s enjoying fame in Botswana, where he said it was initially hard to break into, as well as other countries, such as Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa.