TOP Zanu PF officials on Sunday besieged Magunje Village in Uzumba to pay their last respects to the late traditional drummer, Douglas Vambe.
Vambe died on Tuesday at Parirenyatwa Hospital, six days before his 77th birthday.

BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA

The late Douglas Vambe

Politburo members Sydney Sekeramayi and Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa led a powerful cast of Zanu PF officials that included Mashonaland East provincial chairperson Joel Biggie Matiza, youth league boss Kelvin Mutsvairo and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Commissioner-General Paradzai Zimondi.

Other notable politicians who attended the burial were legislators Simbaneuta Mudarikwa (Uzumba), Lilian Zemura (proportional representation) and Tichaona Karumazondo (Maramba-Pfungwe).

Speaking at the graveside, Tourism and Hospitality Industry permanent secretary Thokozile Chitepo said the late Vambe had contributed much in the arts sector.

“I worked with Douglas Vambe for many years and I am disturbed that we have lost a hero. His artistic works will never die, but will always be there for all the generations. He was a great drummer such that the Jerusarema/Mbende drumbeat was recognised by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and endowed with the Intangible Heritage status,” she said.

Mudarikwa said Vambe deserved national hero status.

“Vambe made us all proud. As the people of Uzumba we were blessed to have him around. I am going to write to the relevant authorities so that he can be accorded national hero status. He deserves it. Uzumba is home to fine artistes in the names of Jah Prayzah, Andy Muridzo and our own Douglas Vambe,” he said.

The late Vambe is popularly known for the drumbeat that accompanies news bulletins on State broadcaster radio and television stations. He however, died a bitter man, saying he never benefited from royalties since the drums began playing on radio in the 1960s.

During his last days, the drummer, who used to perform at Zanu PF and State functions, had shifted his allegiance to the opposition party MDC Alliance and would play his drum at their rallies.

It was an emotional send-off for the veteran drummer as people from all walks of life travelled to Uzumba for the burial.

His funeral wake saw traditional dance group Makarekare and other Jerusarema/Mbende groups performing.

Officials from the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe were also in attendance.