The curious lives of multi-talented creatives

PATIENCE MUSA

Creativity is one of life’s biggest mysteries. Scholars have been studying creativity for centuries, and still none the wiser.

Human creativity makes its mark every day. John Loori a photographer wrote: “Creativity is our birthright.

It is an integral part of being human, as basic as walking, talking and thinking.”

Many artistes tend to be multi-talented and excel in more than just one field and doing the most equally.

All over the world there are singers who act, actors who sing, singers who are also painters or designers, actors who write and produce…it goes on and on.

The phenomena of multi-talented beings is world boggling and at the top of the list is Leonardo Da Vinci who was a painter, draughtsman, sculptor, architect and engineer and he is neither the first nor the last. Sylvester Stallone is a very serious painter as well as an actor. Anthony Hopkins is another painting actor and Jennifer Lopez is an actress, singer and dancer too.

In Zimbabwe we have our own. Aaron Chiundura Moyo is known to some as an actor. When he joined ZBC in 1987 he not only produced his first drama but also starred in it – Chioko Muhomwe. He also is the brains behind Studio 263 and Tiriparwendo which he wrote and produced. The man is an actor, screen writer, novelist, poet, producer and playwright all in one!

In the Zimbabwean arts industry Xavier ‘Safirio’ Madzikatire cannot be left out of such a list. He was a singer/songwriter/performer, actor and standup comedian. His shows where a mix of a standup comedy and music performances and who could forget his role as the notorious Baba Rwizi on ZBC in the 1980’s. 

He also enjoyed a stint on radio with a programme known as Mhuri yavaMakore which was produced by Webster Shamu. His son Elijah Madzikatire followed close in his father’s footsteps with a music career but that is not all. Elijah has been in movies as well as the comedy Bhero Mukadota and to top the list he worked for Gramma Records as a producer. 

He produced for Paul Matavire, Leonard Dembo and Lovemore Majaivana, among others. He has thus far made his mark as a singer/song writer, music producer and actor.

Tomas Luthuli Brickhill, son to Zimbabwean liberation war veteran, renowned musician and one of the founding members of the band Luckstreet Blues and a major promoter of the arts through Book Café and Mannenburg is an actor, singer/musician and film director.

He is most known for directing Cook Off, which was released in 2017 and celebrated worldwide as the ‘wonder movie’. Brickhill is also the lead singer for the mbira punk quartet Chikwata 263 which came to life in 2013 and released their first album in 2015.

Patricia Mabviko-Musanhi is a media legend. She was a ZBC television presenter presenting: the musical programme Coke On The Beat alongside Peter Johns and Tich Mataz, Breaking New Ground, Your guardian For Justice – a legal programme, Juice Up and This Is Life– all on ZBC. In Montrose she presented a radio programme called Young Zimbabwe, which she continued to present on radio after moving to Harare presenting it from the Pockets Hill studios’s. 

Mabviko-Musanhi also enjoyed success on radio presenting a show on the then Radio One which is now Classic 263. She is also an actor: had the main role in a Series called Watch Your Step, was also in the movie I Am The future – the first feature film produced by a woman Kubi Indi and directed by the late Godwin Mawuru starring the late Oliver Mtukudzi and Stella Chiweshe among others. Recently, Mabviko-Musanhi enjoyed a small role in the movie Shaina. So far, we have TV presenter, radio personality and actor, she also loves writing she had column in The Standard and NewsDay newspapers. 

Most recently she contributed to the International Labour Organisation publication – Transforming a nation through gender equality. A magazine called Breaking New Ground was a baby of hers which she was editor. Mabviko Musanhi was also part of the This Is Zimbabwe a documentary she presented and scripted. In conclusion Patricia Mabviko-Musanhi is an accomplished television presenter, radio personality, actor and writer.

Tongai Arnold Gara Chirisa was in Studio 263 but it was his role in NBC’s Crusoe television series as Man Friday alongside Leon Schuster that got the world talking. He has also been in the series Zombie and The Jim Gaffigan Show. If you look him up on the net you will discover he is also known as an ‘occasional’ singer. For an ‘occasional’ singer he does have some pretty strong pipes and you can hear this in his duet with Tamy Moyo Usacheme.

Known mostly to a particular generation for his 2000 hit song MuZezuru and others that followed, Tendai Chidarikire is also on the multi-talented list as a singer/songwriter, dancer and actor. In 1996 at Reps Theatre he was awarded Best Performance Actor and some years later he was in the very first Zimbabwean soapy Studio 263 and across the Limpopo he made a name for himself in Scandal.

Prudence Katomeni and Kudzai Sevenzo are two singers and performers who are known for not just having hit songs but also for great stage presence as well as for their acting careers. 

Prudence Katomeni was that heart wrenching voice behind Albert Nyathi’s Senzeni Na, as well as Tanga WekwaSando’s (Giraffe) Kwenya Kwenya. Later on she was the lead vocalist with Jazz Invitation and the voice behind their hits BP and Ndafuna-funa.

Kudzai Sevenzo’s debut album On a Day Like this produced by Andrew Baird featured hard to forget songs like I don’t know why

After her participation in an MNET talent search show Project Fame she was selected to anchor a television magazine show called Studio 53. She has been in a number of films – Playing Warriors, Cook Off and currently she is studying with Almasi Arts Alliance co-founded by Danai Gurira. 

Prudence Katomeni on the other hand has the classic Consequences which she featured in as a teenager, Playing Warriors and a new movie soon to be released produced by Joe Njagu. Kudzai Sevenzo has also been on radio as the first presenter of the gospel show Get Lifted.

There is a whole list of multi-talented Zimbabwean creatives. Do you know that Roki Rockford Josphat paints and draws? Yes he does! Fungisai Zvakavapano Mashavave designs clothes. Edgar Langeveldt is just not a comedian the man can sing and sings really well. 

Afro-beat singer and guitarist Victor Kunonga is a very talented graphics designer. Jefferson Musarira is a presenter for Coke On The Beat, an actor and also currently enjoying a soaring career in music with the release of some very popular gospel songs. 

Chido Machanzi is another one to look out for: she is quite an exceptional singer and song writer with a hit song Vhima currently on some music charts of note. She also draws and paints and is currently studying with the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare.

Can we call multi-talented creatives ‘flaky’ to an extent? Is it perhaps a case of malcontent or is that perhaps the more organic nature of creatives -being drawn to lots of different things, curiosity and a hunger for new experiences and a unique ability to do different things, explore different skills and excel in all? 

Why is it that some are over-flowing with different talents and others seemingly have none? How come no matter how hard some may work on something study it hard and gain degrees, they have not what it takes still to successfully practice?

In truth all humans are creatives, creating in all sorts of ways. Genesis chapter 2 verse 9 is a constant reminder to us all that God intended for us to use our creativity to subdue and rule over earth and its creatures. 

We each have the ability to create, it just may take some of us longer to discover where exactly our creativity lies-in the kitchen, in a boardroom, in front of a class, on a track, in a lab, at a desk, in a pool or on a stage…it is all creativity!

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