A Tribute to The Prince

As news of his death filtered throughout the country, there was this strong feeling, that the whole Zimbabwean community, not only the music fraternity, had lost part of their life. 

It is no exaggeration to say that, without Prince Tendai, Zimbabwean music would not have been where it is today.

This is a tribute to the unbelievable qualities of the man who won Zimbabwe’s first Kora Music Award way back after releasing the smash hit Character.

Through his Hi-Density Studio which started off along Harare Street and moved to Robert Mugabe, Prince Tendai went out of his way spending countless hours and a fortune trying to help aspiring musicians have their voices heard by recording them for free.

His mission was not only to give the musicians a chance to record but to form a strong Zimbabwean music scene that would rival or better the likes of South Africa.

It is a fact that the likes of Robson Banda, Mitchell Jambo, the late Fortune Muparutsa, Newman Chipeni, Progress Chipfumo, amongst many others, would not have achieved their musical success had it not been for Prince Tendai.

Even great musicians like the late great Simon Chopper Chimbetu had so much respect for Prince Tendai that he had to sacrifice his association with the bigger RTP Records to record his album Zuva Raenda with Hi-Density Studios.

“We have lost a giant. He was an inspiration to all of us. He was an exceptionally brilliant musician,’ said musician Kuda Matimba. 

Matimba was one of those musicians who went through Prince Tendai’s High-Density Studios.

Close friend Alex Goho also praised The Prince.

“He was a dedicated musician who liked music 24 hours. He helped a lot of people most of whom will miss the sacrifice he made. His music though will live on”. 

From his early days as lead singer of the Midnight Magic where he played alongside the likes of Fortune Muparutsa, Prince Tendai had a dream. His dream was to introduce his own type of music and through what he termed Barbed Wire he achieved that. 

Since releasing the album From Zambezi to Limpopo in the early 90s, Prince Tendai went on to churn hit after hit including the likes of Character, Chipo Babe, Sweet Temptation, Zambara, Maria, and November Rain, amongst others.

His brainchild, Barbed Wire music was favourably accepted by the Zimbabwean music fraternity and from it; the popular Urban Grooves music was born.

The flamboyant musician, known for his flashy assembly of Mercedes Cars, was also a successful businessman. As director of Ekhaya Petroleum, he was instrumental in helping Zimbabwe import fuel during the times of crisis.

I remember when I met him in town one day and he was driving an ML Mercedes Benz he had just bought. I asked him to lend me one of his smaller cars for use. His response was, ‘I do not have any small cars. I only drive Mercedes Benzs.’ Such was Prince Tendai.

It is a fact that there have been few diligent workers for music in the country. But since that accident eight months ago, Prince Tendai’s health suffered, he looked tired and spent hours in airplanes seeking treatment outside Zimbabwe until that fateful Tuesday December 27 day when he passed on. 

Gone but who will forget those shows by Sipho Makabane, Kanda Bongoman, Akon and Sean Paul which Prince Tendai brought to the doorsteps of all Zimbabwean music lovers.

Prince Tendai who is survived by his wife Jackie and six children will be buried at the Mupfurutsa Homestead in Magunje on Saturday.

We will all miss the PRINCE