Brenda Phiri Entertainment Reporter
The recent lukewarm performances by the legendary Afrika Revenge have revealed that the group is still far from being the enigmatic outfit that mesmerised fans with their hybrid Qaya music almost a decade ago.
While most fans welcomed the reunion of Willis “Wataffi Afrika” Wachambwa and Mehluli “Taz” Moyo last year, the duo seems to have lost the chemistry that made them a house hold brand.
On surface, all seems normal but their body language and choreography is evidence that they are still struggling to adjust to the reunion.
Fans have been thronging their shows to support them and Misty’s gig over the weekend was no exception
“When people spend eight years apart it is difficult to bring things back to normal. A lot has happened to both of us — we have grown and are now different people. We are still trying to find that chemistry despite the difference between us. We just want to bring back Afrika Revenge music,” said Wataffi who was reluctant to shed light on the real state of affairs in camp.
This comes hot on the heels of a superb solo act by Wataffi at Chinhoyi University of Technology Hotel Bar prior to their Misty’s show.
The show was well coordinated, and the musician seemed to be in a good place, contrary to their Harare gig.
When pressed to explain, Wataffi admitted that he was caught between a rock and a hard place as his loyalty rests upon his own band that has sustained him all these years.
He said Afrika Revenge was in fact a side project that he was dedicated to only because it was expected of him.
This tallied with a school of thought that the duo reunited only to revive Taz’s musical career. A source close to the duo also alleged that Wataffi resisted the idea for years and only succumbed to pressure after some sponsors intervened.
“We cannot live on past glory. It was difficult for the public to accept that Afrika Revenge era was over. But I worked hard all these years to keep the music alive. I established my own brand that achieved more. But it has always been public perception that as long as Afrika Revenge was not together, whatever I was doing was not good enough,” he said.
True to his sentiments, the talented vocalist faced resistance from different sectors of the market when he started out.
But two albums later, he is sitting pretty on local and international awards, local and regional endorsement deals, a clothing label (Qaya Wear), film roles as his solo brand grows.
“The problem is various people including the media sensationalised the split. The return of Afrika Revenge entails that I shed off nine years of my life and all that I have worked for. But I am not ready to throw that away. I have no problems in having the two brands, Willis Wataffi and Afrika Revenge working parallel to each other,” he said.
He said he was confident that his individual brand would continue to excel as he still gets booked even though people were aware that Afrika Revenge was back in business.
“Those who have listened to the music actually believe in me. I am confident of Willis Wataffi brand because it was there before Afrika revenge. And yes I did write most Afrika Revenge hits. I was still in high school when I wrote ‘Wanga’ and did ‘Anochengeta’ when my mother passed away and ‘Buwe Buwe’ whilst I was heading cattle in the rural areas. Afrika Revenge did not exist then,” he said.
However, the other half of the duo Taz, believes things will work out for Afrika Revenge.
“Let us be positive about the issue. We are trying to rebuild the band and I hope things will work out. My heart is with Afrika Revenge. It is my home and I missed home,” said Taz.
“I do not want to talk about Willis’ band. I can only comment on Afrika Revenge. People wanted us to get back together and we hope all will be well with Africa Revenge soon.”
The duo’s manager, Kudakwashe Humba was optimistic brought in another angle
“The group split for eight years and when they decided to reunite, it was their decision. They might have been doing other things during the split but both Willis and Taz appreciate that Afrika Revenge is the priority now. As for the chemistry it is harsh to expect it to just come. It will take time but they are slowly improving,” he said.
Humba said they were managing the two brands (Wataffi and Afrika Revenge) well and would continue to co-exist.
“If Willis has a show and Afrika Revenge doesn’t have one then its okay, he can go and perform. But the two guys are brilliant artistes and things are slowly improving and creative juices are slowly coming,” he said.
Humba expressed optimism over their upcoming album and we are anxious to see how that ship is going to sail.