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Red hot Franco set to release scotcher

MILLICENT HUNGWE

HARARE- Nimble footed, Francis Slomo Dhaka who is regarded as the best sungura dancer in the country is set to release his sixth album after a two year break.

Slomo (42) is the founder and frontman of sungura outfit, Extra Kwazvose and his sixth album titled Mhepo Haivharirwi is expected to shake the sungura music world and change the musician’s fortunes when it finally hits the market soon as it has been in the factory while being perfected for two years now.

When asked what the album means, Slomo did not mince his words; Enemies cannot do anything, if God says it’s time to rise no one can bring you down.. those who wish us bad cannot determine our future.

Dhaka was born in Victoria Falls and had part of his childhood growing up there, but he is from Mt Darwin in Kaitano and grew up in Highfield, Cherima in Harare until he joined Ochestra Mberikwazvo fronted by Alick Extra Basso Macheso.

He told The Midweek Watch that his dancing talent is an in-born thing which he discovered at childhood.

“I loved the guitar very much, especially Khiama Boys’ sungura music, it was my daily bread and I would not miss their shows at every opportunity, just to listen and dance to their music which I loved so much.

“Everyday, I was dreaming of having my own musical outfit and this did not come as a coincidence that I am leading my own band,” said the nimble footed dancer and composer.

“No one taught me to dance and this is the reason why in 2002 Alick Macheso selected me to be his dancer after showcasing my talent on the stage and the crowd shouted, ‘ngaarambe aripa stage’ since then we started working together up to 2011,” said the Ndizvo Zviripo hitmaker.

As someone who was used to dance before crowds during his part time on road shows popularizing the Spar brand then, it was easy to gell into Ochestra Mberikwazvo on that unforgettable day.

“Macheso saw a crowd around me as he was playing his famous bass guitar and thought there was crowd trouble, he called for order only to find out that it was me who was doing what I knew best.

“He called me on stage and from that day I became part of the famous Ochestra Mberikwazvo family and the rest is history so to speak,” said the Zvepasi Rino hitmaker.

Slomo left Baba Sharo in 2011 after resigning formally through management and he has no bad feelings about Mberikwazvo to join Sulumani Chimbetu’s Orchestra Dendera Kings.

He went on to form his own outfit Extra Kwazvose in 2013 together with the popular Congolese born chanter, Jonas Kasamba who had also left Macheso for DRC briefly, skilled veteran drummer, Obert Gomba and lead guitarist, Noel Nyazanda.

He then went on to release his first album “Ndizvo Zviripo” which was a big hit in the same year and “Zvepasi Rino” in 2014 as they were backed by veteran members in the industry who formed a formidable span.

However, along the way they faced challenges resulting in a split, for reasons which have not been made public up to now, although rumours are abound that each senior member of the band felt that they were leaders, hence squabbles erupted.

The Lonah hitmaker told The Midweek Watch that his third album ‘Zvipo Zvedu’ was released in 2015, followed by ‘Kumberi Kwenzara Maguta’ in 2018 and ‘Hauna Zera Nesu’ which was released in 2022 and made some waves, but due to lack of professional marketing, it did not do quite well.

The talented musician cum dancer has had a fair share of his problems off stage after his wife of seven years, Lonah Guvheya dumped him, which affected his career in the music industry and the COVID-19 pandemic did not make the situation any better as live performances were banned.

  When his wife deserted him, she left him with a toddler, Francis Jr and the musician had no option but to take care of him as a single parent.

“I got married when l was 28 years and am now on my third marriage with 5 kids, all boys,” said Dhaka.

Dhaka confirmed that during COVID-19 lockdown he went through a tough time however some of his fans gave him a helping hand for sustainability.

Extra Kwazvose has nine band members and is going from strength to strength although shows are hard to come by due to lack of marketing.

He has planned countrywide shows to launch the much anticipated album, which he believes will be the turning point in the sungura music industry.

Slomo said that he will not go back to Macheso, he has gone through a lot and Extra Kwazvose band is going forward because sungura music will never die.

“Its not possible for me to go back to mudhara (Macheso) because this has always been my dream to lead my own band, I was deserted by all the three senior band members that I started with and there has been speculation that one day I would troop back like Jonas, Obert and Noel to mudhara (Macheso), but I will soldier on.

“Giving up is not part of my DNA, I am happy with the project and it’s a matter of time before we also become big boys in the industry.

“Sungura music is here forever and it will never die as long we are alive and still have the energy to record and do shows,” said the Africa hit maker.

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