She could not hold back her tears. The event was emotional and she just let them flow down her cheeks. Leonard Dembo’s fans were quick to comfort her. Yes, these were tears of joy, but they wanted her to express her happiness through other emotions.As the event progressed, she eventually smiled and laughed. Everyone else laughed with her. It was a day to celebrate the great works of the late great musician through appreciating his mother.
Mbuya Dembo had a great day last Saturday as the late Leonard Dembo’s fans converged at her home in Beatrice to appreciate her through songs and gifts.
The event came as a result of a story published in The Herald two weeks ago when Mbuya Dembo (born Sukai Pasipanodya) shared her plight with the world.
In that interview, she said she would be happy to listen to her son’s music, but she did not have a radio. She also spoke about her other needs and Dembo’s fans responded by organising the appreciation party for her.
About 30 people made their way to her residence on Saturday and the day was indeed memorable.Now she can listen to all her son’s songs courtesy of a solar-powered radio and music sourced for her by the fans.
She also received groceries, blankets, clothes and cash from well-wishers and she expressed her joy in tears.
You have made me cry. I did not expect this. What can I do? I don’t know what to do anymore and I am like a confused person. This is overwhelming. I cannot stand it. I know wherever Leonard is he is seeing this. He should be happy for what you have done my children,” she said as she struggled to control her tears.
She also gave the fans lighter moments of the event when she sang Dembo’s songs “Sharai” and “Vhenenzia”.
She danced and excited everyone who was present. Although her grandson, Tendai, had promised to join the team that went to donate to her, he failed to make it due to other commitments and well-wishers decided to proceed with the journey without a family representative.
However, Mbuya Dembo said she knew about the event and had prepared for it with her neighbours.
“We were waiting for you since morning. We heard that you were coming and we were waiting. People told us about your visit and I have been here with my neighbours waiting for you. I am glad that you have finally arrived.
The build-up to the event started in the afternoon when fans from Harare gathered at Herald House and started their journey to her place in a convoy of vehicles ecorated with posters of the late Dembo.
“Musoro Wenyoka’s” music beamed from car radios and the spectacle became spectacular when the convoy reached Mbuya Dembo’s homestead.
She was not at home when the many cars snaked their way into her yard and a grandson was sent to call her to meet her visitors. Since she had been expecting the team, she was not surprised by their presence but the gifts seemed to inflame her heart.
She ululated and danced. She shared her story about Leonard with many of them. As donations came, the well-wishers also put a smile on her face with a small party. Dembo’s songs were playing throughout the event and the fans joined the old lady in dancing to the music.
The fans roasted meat and the fun continued until well after sunset. The dark hours brought more glitter since the old lady’s hut was well-lit courtesy of the new solar system that had just been installed.
Mbuya Dembo also took intervals to don various new clothes that she had received and her neighbours cheered her on.
It was a day to remember for the woman who gave birth to one of the best musicians to grace the local showbiz scene.
“I do not know what I can say. I just say let this generosity not end here. You have done well my children. You have made me happy. You have made Leonard happy. May the good Lord bless you in whatever you do. May you prosper in your endeavours,” she said on a parting note as the fans bid her farewell.
Various fans that came to the event expressed gratitude at the appreciation party.
National FM presenter Robson Umali ,who was one of the attendees, thanked fans that came for showing love to Mbuya Dembo.
“I am happy to be here. This is a great event and I would like to thank everyone who came. It is always good to put a smile on an old lady’s face. You saw Mbuya Dembo’s tears of joy and you also saw her smile.
“She is a happy woman because of the music that her son left to us. I will come back and see her again. We need to keep checking on how she is living,” said Umali. Sungura musician Lukcy Kumene was also part of the contingent and showered Mbuya Dembo with praises.
“We appreciate what Gogo did in giving birth to a legend in our industry. I am one musician who is inspired by Dembo’s songs and I am happy that he pioneered a way for us.
“I am more than grateful to be part of this event. It has shown us that Dembo’s music will never die. It is about 21 years after his death and people still salute him. This was a good gesture to salute his mother.”