Orbituary for Great Zim musician: Edwin Hama (SA) (11-07-07)

JOHANNESBURG:
IT seems like yesterday when vocalist, Edwin Hama, caught the imagination of Zimbabwean listeners and set the local music industry ablaze with his music that dwelt on prevailing social and economic issues.

In his heyday he was second to none. He was more than just a


n artiste, but a musician-cum-socio economic commentator.

His early 1990s charttoppers, Waiting for A New Day, Asilamali, Today’s Paper and “Dreams of a Home bear testimony to that.


Reflecting the lives of a people that were failing to make ends meet during Zimbabwe’s transition to the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme, better known by its acronym, ESAP, they had one thing in common- seemingly prophesying the country’s ongoing economic woes.

Today, more than a decade down the line, fans could be pardoned for saying the one most common thing about the songs is that they are prophetic.


While many a prophet cannot live to see their prophecies come to pass, Edwin did. Hama passed away died on July 2 at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo a few weeks after celebrating his 40th birthday.

The Ganya, Gokwe born artist succumbed to a short illness. It is a pity Hama passed away while this writer was still trying to establish his whereabouts and most probably get a comment on Zimbabwe’s current economic woes that he seemed to be prophesying ages ago.

Efforts however drew a blank.


Such was the muso’s wane in popularity that no one, including his contemporaries in music, seemed to acknowledge his whereabouts.

To most revelers who were in love with his music in his heyday, the name did not even ring a bell. Conspiracy theorists, startled by the erstwhile musician’s silence, even believed he had died.


Sources in the industry went to as far as to maintaining that Hama was struggling to make ends meet.

It appeared he lost the plot in the late 90s after the release of his last album, ironically titled, Suffer Continue.


The album marked his disappearance from the scene and the reported recurrence of events we will not delve into.


Whatever the case may be, that Hama was talented and his music appealed most to the toiling members of the public is not debatable.


An account of jazz music in post independence Zimbabwe is incomplete without the mention of Hama, one would have wished the musician would bounce back in the most thrilling fashion.


But it was not to be. While his soul rests in eternal peace to the many of us that are reeling under the economic meltdown, it is a case of Asilamali, Suffer Continue while Waiting for A New Day for the country to bounce back, instead of being in Today’s Paper for the wrong reasons as is
the case today- M Sibanda

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