Mr Chitungwiza A True Legend
4 May 2022
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Reuben Yuda

John Chibadura
Born John Nyamukokoko
February 17, 1957
Died August 4, 1999 (aged 42)
Nationality Zimbabwe
Other names Mr Chitungwiza

John Chibadura was one of the best sungura and reggae artist in Zimbabwe. He was popularly known as “Mr Chitungwiza” for being the first musician to own a house in Chitungwiza at a time when the suburb was sprawling and when he was basking in glory. His music genre was a blend of sungura, jit, rhumba and reggae. He formed his own outfit known as The Tembo Brothers. He gained international recognition in the 1980s but Mozambique was his second home and whenever he was performing in Mozambique, the Mozambicans welcomed him as one of their lost son. Together with his band, Chibadura managed to release many albums and his first single was “Upenyu Hwandinetsa”.


Chibadura was born John Nyamukokoko on 17 February 1957. He lost his mother when he was five, he never had a place which he called his permanent home. It is said that he usually relocated from one relative’s household to another as no one was able to take full responsibility of him.

[1] In the wake of all this, Chibadura was not able to finish school and he was thus forced to seek employment. He was first employed as a shepherd in Darwendable Farming area, where he hailed from. From being a shepherd, he became a driver at a certain farm, driving the tractor.[1] He was then employed as a lorry driver and it was during this period in which he began to learn how to play an electric guitar.[1] His ability to play the guitar earned him the nickname ‘Chibadura’ meaning the man who can do the best on the guitar.

In February 1980, Chibadura relocated from Darwendale to Salisbury (present day Harare) in company of his friend Shepherd Chinyani.[1] During this time, Chibadura was known as Enock Chimukoko.

Music career

Chibadura launched his musical career in Harare together with Chinyani who became part of a band known as The Holy Brothers.[1] The band was however short lived and some of the band members were reported to have abandoned their musical careers.

Chibadura and Chinyani teamed up with Tineyi Chikupo who was the front man of a band called Mother Band which he had formed in the early 1980s.

[1] Chikupo however left his band and Chibadura together with Chinyani teamed with Ronnie Gatakata, Bata Sintirawo popularly known as Manyowa and they started performing in Mutoko at a certain hotel.[1] They were identified as a band, surprisingly the band was still yet to acquire a name. This anonymous band relocated to Domboshawa after they were being continuously ill-treated by the owner of the hotel at Mutoko, a place which had become their performing base.[1] In Domboshawa, they signed a contract which enabled them to perform at Mverechena Hotel and the band was subsequently named The Mverechena Band.[1] After being offered a contract to perform at Mushandirapamwe Hotel in Highfield, the Mverechena Band left Domboshawa for Harare and they assumed a new name, The Sungura Boys being led by Chibadura.[1] The band released albums such as Sara Ugarike, Rugare Tangenhamo which all sold more than 100 000 copies.
There are conflicting reports regarding the actual year in which Chibadura formed his Tembo Brothers. It was reported that it was in 1983 when Chibadura decided to try his luck in music when he was inspired by some of the then well-established artists who were performing in the local beer halls which Chibadura frequently visited.[2] It was also reported that, it was in 1985 when Chibudara left The Sungura Boys to form the Tembo Brothers.[1] Regardless of this, the fact still remains that Chibadura was the one who initiated the formation of the Tembo Brothers.

International Performances

Chibadura and his band, the Tembo Brothers managed to gain recognition internationally. The band toured the United Kingdom twice and in 1988 the band was invited to be a guest on Andy Kershaw’s Radio 1 show.[1] The band is said to be the first amongst the other outfits that were in the country in the 1980s to perform in Europe. Chibadura performed his last gig in Ireland at The Travellers Rest as part of the celebration of the Senses Festival.[3] Regionally, the band registered success in Mozambique and it was reported that each time there was a show slated for the Tembo Brothers, Chibadura would be ferried to concerts by the presidential helicopter.[1]

His Death

Chibadura died of an undisclosed ailment in 1999 but left an enduring legacy. After his death, the Tembo Brothers managed to record three albums being led by Roderick Chomudhara.[4]


Upenyu Hwandinetsa
Mudzimu Wangu
5000 Kuroora
Sara Ugarike
Reggae Hits
Nguva Yakaoma
The Best of John Chibadura
Munhu Hanachakana
Kugarika Tangenhamo
Mune Majerasi

Source: Pindula