Listening to his frisky voice, beautifully blended with an acoustic guitar, one would not mistake Mwenje Mathole for anyone else.
His unique music, which he calls Mosi has grabbed the attention of several critics and music fans, including local radio stations.
“I never got a chance to listen to a lot of other people’s music. So as my talent grew, I didn’t have anyone to sound like that much. It helped me build the person that I am today,” he tells The NewsReport.
Mathole recalls crafting his first makeshift guitar from a tin of cooking oil, when he was just six.
He somewhat knew he was destined for dizzy heights, at that tender age.
Years later, his music has become a breath of fresh air in an industry where originality is a ‘rare’ commodity.
“My family has always been in art; my mum sings and my father wrote stories that used to be read on radio. Because of my deep love for music, I used to make makeshift guitars. My Sunday school teacher had a guitar which I also loved playing. My father then promised to buy me a guitar if I passed my grade 7 so that is how I got my first guitar. He had seen the passion that I had,” Mathole says.
Mathole credits his parents for cultivating Ubuntu and the love for the African culture, which is indelible in his music.
The 33-year-old believes music should play a part in preserving culture and language.
“I have also embrace being African which I saw in my parents shaped me into what I am today. Also growing up in a functional family helps build the spirit of the music. I credit my grandmother and my parents, because they encouraged me to proud of who I am. They said you cannot praise God effectively if you look down upon who you are. I grew up listening to our language, writing poems and some of it is now being translated into music. I also like collecting dialects,” he says.
An African history enthusiast, with a deep reverence for God, Mathole explains his creative process.
“My creative process starts with God. I just open myself to my God. Sometimes it comes through dreams or when i’m walking. It normally comes as I walk. My subconscious is always writing music. To me music has colour, it has a personality,” he says.
Mathole has spent the last twelve years making his debut album, which is yet to be released.
He admits that the journey to recording his first album has been riddled with challenges.
“I faced some challenges and wanted to release a solid project. We are fought many times, i have been working on my album for 12 years because of many challenges. We decided to release an EP as we wait for the bigger project. Sometimes in the middle of a production the owner of the computer would come and get his computer, it was a serious hustle,” Mathole says.
Listening to his lyrics, one cannot fail to pick the depth and spiritually laden compositions.
On the song Kuhope, featuring Fusion Mangwiro, Mathole comforts himself through an allegory of a soldier who suffers a heartbreak during a war.
“I was just thinking that a worst case would be while you are fighting for the liberation struggle and then someone says they don’t love you anymore. I wondered how that would feel. That is how I wrote that verse. I am encouraging people to move on,” he adds.
Although Zimbabweans are slowly catching up to his music, Mathole admits that:” People sometimes do not understand what I am trying to do, which is Mosi Music. The late Oliver Mtukudzi told me that son, you are not singing for yourself, what you are selling should draw people to listen to you. But we get there.”
His latest EP Svingobgwe released last year, has received rave reviews from critics and his growing fan base.
Svingobgwe carries songs such as Place, Hotye Kotye and Shasha among others.
”Svingobwe is a type of a cave. Our ancestors used to shelter there after a long walk. It was a sacred cave. Svingobwe is returning to the image of God, that is where we will find true rest. Whatever is happening in the world is because of removing ourselves from the image of God. There is no peace coming from anywhere, but we need to get back to the image of God,” Mathole explains.