WITH age fast catching up with seasoned sungura artiste Nicholas Zakaria, pictured, the veteran musician has set his sights on ploughing back into the community by nurturing young artistes.
Zakaria, who is popularly known as Senior Lecturer, is turning 66 on April 5. To celebrate the milestone, his management team has planned a “massive birthday bash” to be held on April 9.
“Getting old is nice; it comes with wisdom. Stage wise, I feel like a teenager and I still have a lot to offer to the arts sector,” Zakaria said.
With 46 years of experience in the music industry, Zakaria has since acquired a piece of land in Chitungwiza where he intends to establish an arts centre for the benefit of the youngsters.
“I was inspired by the late Oliver Mtukudzi’s Pakare Paye Arts Centre. I want to professionally impart song-writing and guitar playing skills to aspiring musicians,” Zakaria said.
The Khiama Boys front man’s dream to establish the centre has been delayed by the prevailing economic situation in the country.
“I am relying more on well-wishers. A local property company has pledged to draw up a plan for the centre,” he said.
Over the years, Zakaria who boasts 46 years of experience in showbiz has polished top artists in the form of Alick Macheso, rhythm guitar wizard Zakaria Zakaria and the late System Tazvida among others.
He conceded Zimbabwe is awash with raw talent.
“We have a lot of talent in the country but we do not have facilities to refine it. Recording studios have mushroomed of late but the quality of sound being produced is worrisome. We should invest more in quality products rather than quantity,” Zakaria, who has 28 studio albums under his name, said.
The late superstar Mtukudzi died a satisfied man as he had managed to empower and inspire present and future generations through his multi-million dollar arts project, Pakare Paye Arts Centre.
The imposing arts centre — which has been valued about US$2million by local property developers — is situated about 45km from the capital city, Harare.
It is a place for developing and nurturing young talent in different artistic fields such as music, dance, drama, poetry and martial arts among other art disciplines.
In Zimbabwe, Mtukudzi is not only remembered for his catalogue of music but also what he did in uplifting both aspiring and young musicians.
By the time of his death in 2019, Samanyanga, Tuku’s elephant totem, had collaborated with a number of both upcoming and seasoned musicians in the country and beyond.
Owing to his immense contribution to the music industry, Tuku became the first musician to be declared a national hero.