….as rebranded “ Usamunamate” is thrown into the music market
Review by Tinashe Gumbo | After 21 years, Usamunamate resurrects.
As “Musorobhangu” album is still wreaking havoc on the national radio stations; YouTube and in the streets of Zimbabwe and the surrounding countries, Sifelilizwe Shumba and the Peps Kings have generously thrown back “Usamunamate”. Those who closely follow the Peps Kings Music, will remember the Unovhaira Nei (2000) album which carried the hit song, Usamunamate Haasi Gotwe Renyika.
I particularly vividly remember the song myself, as we played it in “Bagdad” Hostels at the University of Zimbabwe with my colleagues from Mberengwa, Tavonga Chipembere, Forget Mutemba and Masara Masara of Chivi. We were in our second year at the institution. Twenty-one years later, the rebranded Usamunamate song is back as a scotching “single”. In this short piece, I try to share my subjective interpretation of the song.
A few lines from Usamunamate
On 23 June 2022, I received a call from Shumba indicating that the Peps Kings have a new one from the oven. He shared with me the song as he always does, before it became public. I played it once, twice, and by the third time, I had been convinced that indeed, this is an “old but very new Usamunamate”. The voices, the guitars (lead, rhythm and bass) and the drums are now well arranged. Yes, I enjoyed the song back then in 2000, but certainly, the current version is a marvel to listen to.
I still felt the System (Fanuel) Tazvida flavor in the rebranded project. The Peps Kings have always worked hard to fill the gap left by the late great Tazvida of the Chazezeza Challengers (this is my subjective argument). Let me remind the audience of the central lines in the song:
Usamunamate uyooo x2; Haasi gotwe renyika x2; Ungazomupa manyemweee x2; Rega zviende izvooo x2; Hona imhepo yenyikaaa x2; Inotopfuura nenyikaaa x2; Inga nyika izere iyooo x2; Nevasikana vakanakaaa x2;….. Nevakomana vakatsvindaaa x2; Uchazochema mangwanaaa x2; Uchazodemba mangwana iweee x2;………; Awhwihwihwo! Peps Kings! From Mberengwa with Love!; …Ukandikanya ndodiniko dhiaaa x2; Ukandikanya ndoita Seiko iniii x2; ……
In some few lines as shown above, Shumba reminds his audience of his beloved community of Mberengwa. This has been his trade mark. He always makes sure that the word “Mberengwa” finds its way into all his projects and the idea has found favor with his home boys and girls from that community.
My Reading of Shumba’s Message
For me, Shumba comes in to console victims of betrayal in love relationships. He urges them to move on and forget about the betrayal. Shumba must have emotionally witnessed people in life who waste time trying to lure back their ex-lovers who would have betrayed them. He appreciates the pain that one undergoes after being betrayed by someone he or she called lover. This is what we call heartbreak, or its sister term, heartache. This is a serious matter that the Peps Kings front man is trying to deal with in his song. In a dismissive manner, Shumba urges the betrayed girl or boy to move on and never to think about this almost evil betrayer(lover).
While the Clergy will always preach about reconciliation in broken love partnerships, Shumba advises, that a “heart breaker” should never be worshipped, lest “Ungazomupa manyemweee”. The best is to let him or her go as he or she is just like the wind which blows past stationary objects without causing any effect to the same.
For Shumba, there is no need to worship a lady or a boy as the market (world) is full of beautiful girls and smart boys who can always fill in the gap left by the betrayer. Indeed, this particular betrayer is not the last born of Zimbabwe or Africa, if not the whole world. This is a strong consoling line in the song for all those currently feeling the pain of betrayal from their loved ones.
In fact, for Shumba, betrayal can be a blessing in disguise. Otherwise, if you insist to reconnect with such an unfaithful partner, you will regret it as he or she can repeat what he or she would have done to you. In Shona they say “Shiri ine muririro wayo haimuregi” (it is diffult to change one’s tradional behavior). The best thing is to move on and look for other partners who may be even better than this particular one who did not keep the promise. Indeed, “God does not save you from heartache, but he will save you in heartache” (Morris, 2019). Morris (Ibid) further indicates that “God does not save you from pain, but he will save you in pain”. Therefore, according to Shumba, one can only save him or herself from this painful situation by moving on instead of continuously trying to foster reconciliation which will not help the situation.
A bit on love relationship
When two people have the hots for each other, their brains experience a flood of chemical changes, rewiring them entirely (Kelly, n.d.). Love induces adrenaline in the brain. This explains why a person in love, might trip up on words, sweat uncontrollably, and has heart palpitations (ibid). Indeed, loving someone feels really good to that extent.
However, when a relationship goes astray, those feel-good chemicals all nosedive and wreak havoc on one’s love-high body. One can experience extreme depression when he or she is detached from one’s significant other. Common symptoms that follow include loss of appetite, insomnia, increased stress, and problems focusing (Kelly, n.d.). A brokenhearted person becomes a complicated creature to deal with. A lot can happen as one tries to help a person in such an emotional situation. Often, we just get tired of love and feel that love really sucks. We feel like it hurts us way too much. At times love brings all the sort of pain that goes mercifully beyond our powers of feeling. This is the situation that Shumba is confronting in his song, Usamunamate.
An analysis of Shumba’s advice in Usamunamate
When it comes to betrayal, nothing hurts more than being betrayed by a person you so much love and trust. It hurts like hell when a partner in love betrays you. It is normally difficult to accept this reality hence one will try to speak to everyone and do everything in search of solutions. In most cases, one will feel like is dreaming, only to realize that indeed, his or her loving partner is no longer interested in their love affair. In some cases, one starts to self-blame for his or her delusion. Thus, Shumba offers special advice in such painful cases, that is, to move on. In this case, Shumba’s advice seems to connect so well with Sam (2020)’s “effective ways to deal with betrayal”.
In the following few paragraphs, I try to analyze Shumba’s message based on the four ways of dealing with betrayal as shared by Sam (2020). These are acceptance of reality; ignoring reasons behind betrayal; regarding betrayal as lessons of life as well as avoiding betrayals in relationships.
Acceptance of Reality
Very often, people find it difficult to move on because they do not accept the reality that they have been betrayed (Sam, 2020). Shumba notes the same in his song such that he advises one to accept that he or she has to look for other potential lovers. Yet, the first step to heal one’s wound is to face reality and admit that one has a wound. To insist that you have to reconnect with the ex-lover, is dangerous because “Uchazochema mangwana” according to Shumba.
Never look for reasons behind it
Sam (2020) advises that it will be useless to try to find the reason behind any betrayal. In the same vain, Shumba, is also not interested in one finding the reason for the ex-lover’s decision. For him, this becomes an opportunity for one to move on and look for other girls or boys who may be even better than the betrayer. Attention, according to Shumba, should be paid to the next stage of life without “this one”. Sam indicates that instead of trying to answer the question “why”, one needs to pay close attention to the impact of the betrayal. If it is “severe and affects you financially, mentally and emotionally, ask yourself if it’s something you can live with, stay with and comfortably be with moving forward. If not, then why bother wasting your time to find the reason when you already know your decision”. This resonates well with Shumba’s main message in his song, to move on.
Consider it a lesson
Clearly, heartbreak is painful, and we are all not immune from it. It is part of our love life, unfortunately. In most cases, we struggle to take stock of how we would have treated the eventual heartbreaker and thereby ending up blaming ourselves. Shumba and Sam (2020) hold that never ever blame yourself for someone’s decision to leave you. Othwise, when it happens, it should be considered as a blessing in disguise. This will be a lesson for you as you enter into new love relationships.
After experiencing heartbreak, one should “always pay close attention to people’s action rather than their words because actions always speak louder than words. ….. start to listen more and speak less and do more reflections as it helps ..get a better understanding that quality is more important than quantity…” (Sam, 2020) in love. Shumba also notes the same when he emphasizes that “Rega zviende izvooo…. inga nyika izere… nevasikana vakanakaaa….nevakomana vakatsvindaaa…” He is simply indicating that one would have been given the opportunity to settle for better quality love partners as a result of this betrayal.
Moreover, there is no need to revenge because “what goes around comes around” (Sam, 2020). For both Shumba and Sam, best revenge, one can make is moving on, living well and achieving greater success in life because if one ever encounters one’s betrayer again in future, the later will have no choice but to regret.
Stay away from betrayals
Some people are tempted to reconcile with ex-lovers who would have betrayed them in the first instance. In some considerable number of cases, some might forgive betrayal and continue to be in a relationship or partnership with them. Yet, Shumba continues to caution that “Uchazochema mangwana”. Shumba is unapologetic about it. He urges his audience to move on.
What is clear from my understanding of Usamunamate (2022 version) is that there is great improvements from the earlier version. However, the message remains the same with some few areas of emphasis being made in the new version. The arrangement of the guitars and voices was a major improvement in the latest project. Shumba does not seem to believe in reconciliation between ex-lovers. His advice is clear, “move on” as this may be an opportunity to connect with better lovers than the one who betrayed you.
To interact with Sifelilizwe Shumba and to order the CD, connect with him on: *0779 478 554*
For feedback and interaction ( *NOT* *FOR* *ORDERING* *OF* *THE* *CD* ): contact me on my Mobile: *+254 702 523* *940*/WhatsApp *+263 773218860* ; Email: [email protected]; Blog: tinashegumbo.wordpress.com; Twitter: DrTinasheGumbo1; Facebook: Tinashe Gumbo
Kelly, C. (n.d.), Why We Physically Feel Love and Heartache in Our Hearts (inverse.com), Accessed 27 June 2027
Morris, M., (2019), Blessing in Disguise: The Truth About Trouble – Matt Morris, Accessed 27 June 2022
Sam, no initials, (2020), Effective ways to deal with betrayals – QLA Life, Accessed 27 June 2022.