PIC:Meet the man who played the ZBC News Opening Drum Theme


Celebrated drummer, Douglas Vambe yesterday said he wished to meet President Robert Mugabe, as he commemorates 70 years as an accomplished drummer. Vambe is famed for coming up with Jerusarema-Mbende drumbeat, the signature tune on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s news bulletins.


The 78-year-old soft-spoken drummer said he wanted to share the joy of his accomplishments with the Head of State.

“I am turning 79 in August, and I am planning a big bash to celebrate with others. God has taken me this far, it is not about getting old, but I have been behind the drum for about 70 years,” he said.

“As part of the celebrations, I would love to meet the President, so I share with him my joy and achievements.”

Born on August 8, 1937, Vambe started playing the drum at the age of five. The news bulletins signature drumbeat was recorded in the early 1960s.

Vambe said he heard a voice in a dream telling him he was going to live off playing the drum and was taught how to play.

His grandfather, he said, told him their ancestors had visited him in the dream and it would come true.

He was later discovered by the then Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation, while he was a vendor selling food at the broadcasting centre’s premises.

“This is when I was asked by Godwin Mbofana, Wilson Chivaura and Benjamin Chipere to be recorded and have my Jerusarema beat aired on radio stations,” he said.

From 1962, when the drumbeat was recorded at ZBC Mbare Studios, the veteran drummer had not received any form of payment from the ZBC until 2009, when the government gave him a 100ha farm, as compensation of his royalties.

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