The dif­fer­ent shades of Ndux Malax

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

WHILE his mu­sic has stood the test of time, the life of Ndux Malax, like the life many other mu­si­cians from Mata­bele­land, re­mains a closed book.

While fans know ev­ery­thing there’s to know about Ndux Malax the mu­si­cian, few have a clue about Ndux Malax the man. Hav­ing had his prime in the era be­fore so­cial me­dia, in era in which fans barely in­ter­acted with stars they idolised, the life and times of Ndux Malax re­main largely a closed chap­ter. Be­yond the stu­dio, few have a clue about the man whose songs they love so dearly was.

Even among those that were close to him, Ndux Malax was a mys­tery. It is per­haps for this rea­son that in death, he has be­come dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple. His sis­ter, Sikhangezile Ncube re­mem­bers a man who was ini­tially shunned by a Kezi com­mu­nity that felt that his gui­tars would have un­due in­flu­ence on chil­dren and would lead them down the same path he had taken.

His son, Ndux Jnr, only re­mem­bers a strict man who wanted things done by the book. As a mu­si­cian, he has re­alised that his fa­ther’s shadow will al­ways stalk him. The colour­ful dancer, Themba “Boy­oyo” Mathe re­mem­bers a tight fisted boss who had trou­ble part­ing with a penny. Sun­day Life spoke to these three peo­ple at length and tried to un­ravel the life of the leg­end.

Sikhangezile Ncube (sis­ter)

He was born Nduna Mal­aba in Kezi in Mal­aba un­der Chief Mal­aba.

That’s where he was born. When he was 22 or 23, I wasn’t born at this time, he went to went to live with our ma­ter­nal grand­fa­ther. He only came back when he was a grown men and was about to leave for Botswana. That’s where he went to work. I think this was around 1971. He worked there un­til 1979.

When he was in Botswana that’s when he started do­ing mu­sic but he was not re­ally do­ing it pro­fes­sion­ally. He was just do­ing it to en­ter­tain peo­ple wher­ever he could. Then he came back and he formed a band that he called the Stone Sound Band. The band name came from the per­son that was spon­sor­ing him at the time and I’m not sure how long he stayed with that band name.

He then changed the band name to the one he wanted which was the Ta­hangana Band. That’s the name that he stuck to from 1982 up to his death.

Most peo­ple don’t know that he at­tended a pri­mary school in Kezi but never went to sec­ondary school. This was be­cause of the war and be­cause he was older when the war ended he did not get a chance to go to school again.

He was very help­ful. Every­one could turn to him. He was some­one who was very help­ful to his com­mu­nity both in the ru­ral ar­eas where we come from and here in the ur­ban ar­eas.

He made us roy­alty. Wher­ever I go, if I men­tion my sur­name peo­ple ask if I’m Ndux’s sis­ter their treat­ment of me changes. It doesn’t mat­ter whether I’m Nkayi and Fi­l­abusi. I’m ap­pre­ci­ated the same way. He el­e­vated us as a fam­ily.

Our par­ents did not want him to be­come mu­si­cians. Some of the herds­men and el­ders felt that he was a bad in­flu­ence in the area be­cause other young chil­dren were go­ing to fol­low the path that he had cho­sen. They didn’t un­der­stand what he was try­ing to achieve. It was only af­ter he had re­leased

al­bums like Ba­fundis­eni that peo­ple be­gan to warm up to him. They even started to let him play in schools which he had never thought was pos­si­ble. Themba “Boy­oyo” Mathe

I met him when I was work­ing on one of the buses in my home area. On that par­tic­u­lar day I was not work­ing, I at­tended one of his shows and be­cause I liked danc­ing, I just jumped on stage and started do­ing my thing. He liked what he saw and asked me to quit my job and start danc­ing for him.

Ac­tu­ally on the day he asked me to come and sleep at his house. In a mat­ter of weeks I was his road mas­ter and I was in his band for about three to four years.

The one thing that I re­mem­ber about him is that he had a very short tem­per. He would lose it when things did not go his way. So you al­ways had to be care­ful on how you con­ducted your­self around him.

He was also very tight with money. He was some­one who had a hard time pay­ing the peo­ple who worked for him. It was al­ways a strug­gle to get money from him al­though in the end he would even­tu­ally pay. De­spite all that he left a strong legacy and even af­ter his death we con­tin­ued to use his in­stru­ments be­fore the man who foun founded Mokis Con­nec­tion came and stole them.

One of our most mem­o­rable shows was when we went wen to Tshe­lanyemba amidst ru­mours that he had died. When he stepped on stage the whole place erupted and I will never for­get the looks on peo­ple’s faces as this “ghost” per­formed for them. t

Ndux Jnr (So (Son)

He died when I was in Grade 7 and the one thing I re­call about ab him was that al­though he was open, he wa was also strict. The things that he talked about in his mu­sic are the things that he wanted to teach us in life as his chil­dren.

I might not have played with him but I used to love the th ra­dio. I loved mu­sic and so when­ever he ca came for shows in Kezi he would bring me up to the stage and in­tro­duce me to the au­di­ence an and say this is my boy who will take over when he grows up.

Even though I lost in­ter­est when I grew up that call­ing came cam back to me later on life. In 2002 when I wa was in col­lege I started writ­ing the songs on my mind. min If some­thing is in your blood I guess you do t that. So dur­ing hol­i­days I would then work with a man called Mo­dias Chauke and he was som some­one that used to work with my fa­ther. He wou would tell me what to do and what I needed to do d to fine tune my sound. But I only started r record­ing pro­fes­sion­ally when I joined the army arm in 2005.

A lot of th the band mem­bers had left to join Mokis Con­nec­tion. C I had a hard time get­ting in­strum in­stru­ments. My first al­bum had been suc­cess­ful but I had no in­stru­ments for live shows. My fath fa­ther’s in­stru­ments had been sold off be­cause no o one thought that they would be used ever again. again They thought no one would emerge to use th them.

He made the fan base but the prob­lem is that peo­ple love to com­pare me with the leg­end. They for­get tha that I’m my own man. So even when I com­pos com­pose my own songs I put his old songs so that I d don’t lose my way.

We were affe af­fected emo­tion­ally when he died but our fam­ily is united. So what­ever chal­lenges arise we put han hands to­gether and that even goes to­day. So al­though al­thou I was very young when he passed away I had h a lot of sup­port and I did not feel the imp im­pact that much.

We ne never strug­gled fi­nan­cially. His things w were in or­der and they still are so al all that we can do is main­tain the them. The Nku­lumane is house t there and he had live­stock.

We’re just tak­ing care of it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.