Sulu Chimbetu says one of his biggest disappointments is failing to attend the burial of his maternal grandmother who looked after him as a boy. He said he could not attend at the time because he was busy. She died in 2010.
“It was the most challenging era of my life. I performed at four shows fighting hard to suppress tears and sometimes going back stage to cry. I received the news of my grandmother’s death on a Friday on my way to a show in Chitungwiza. I had three other shows that weekend including an afternoon show and I could not cancel them.
“I could not attend the funeral. I have never had such a hard time on stage, but I had to soldier on. She was buried in my absence and I only went to see her grave the following Monday. It was all because of a busy weekend schedule.”
He also spoke about the principles his late dad instilled in him.
“I was managing our farm in Chegutu and my father said I had to hire people to make a fireguard. He said I should get many people to clear the fireguard using hoes. I realised it would be cheaper and faster to hire a few people to clear the area for a tractor to make the fireguard.
The job that was supposed to take many days was done in two days at a cheaper cost, but when my father came he was angry. He asked me why I had not obeyed his instructions and said he did not care my method had been more efficient. He said what he wanted in me was obedience more than anything else. I was so frustrated.
“I only got relief after one of his friends at the farm told me how my father was so happy about the way I had done the job. He said my father had praised me so much when they were together. So it means he was happy, but did not want to openly praise me. It seems he did not want me to get into a comfort zone. He wanted to keep me on my toes. That was Simon for you.”
Sulu said, even in music, he will go with his father’s principles. He does not want to get into a comfort zone and does not want to feel like he has achieved enough even if he wins many awards and gets thousands of fans at shows. He knows that a lot of work still has to be done.
Currently he is working on his upcoming album that will be released later this year. He has been spending nights in the studio pushing his work. But the musician says people should know the difference between Sulu and Simon.
“I am not Simon. I am Simon’s son and I will never be Simon. He is my inspiration and I took from where he left but there are many things I do differently. Sometimes people attack me for doing things differently. There is no way we can be exactly the same but I will work hard to keep Dendera music alive. I might add one or two things to the beat. My wish is to see my father’s legacy living forever.”