Prince Tendai Dies

Prince Tendai

2011 has taken another life away from the music industry with news of the death of one of Zimbabwe’s pioneering producers and musicians Prince Tendai Mupfurutsa.

Prince Tendai had been battling with motor neurone disease for a while and had been on life-support in China. We can confirm he was brought back into the country yesterday and he died just after midnight at Avenues Clinic in Harare. He will be buried in Hurungwe in Saturday.

Standardplus listed some of his barn-storming achievements

  • He founded the first black-owned record label that was called Hi-Density Records in 1994. The company signed musicians like Simon Chimbetu, Elias Musakwa (who now owns Gramma Records), Marko Sibanda, Ndolwane Superstars, Lubumbashi Stars and Gospel Trumpet among others.
  • For about four years, he led the popular Midnight Magic that came up with hits like Zambezi to Limpopo, On and On, Mai Tendi, Sweet Temptation and Character among other hits. It was a four-member group that Mupfurutsa individually sponsored.
  • In 1998, he joined the list of first local promoters to host renowned regional gospel musicians when he hosted South African gospel supremo Sipho Makabane at the International Conference Centre in a historic show that saw the audience spilling to the auditorium’s periphery.
  • Mupfurutsa was the first Zimbabwean musician to be nominated for the Kora Music Awards in 1997 in the Best African Song of the Year category for the song Character. The likes of Chiwoniso Maraire, Oliver Mtukudzi and Tanga wekwaSando also got nominated in the following years.
  • Following the shocking Nyanga Bus Disaster in which about 90 pupils perished in 1991, Mupfurutsa brought together almost 30 local musicians in a collaborative awareness song titled Bus Driver. Musicians like Oliver Mtukudzi, Simon Chimbetu, Rusike Brothers and Mechanic Manyeruke took part.
  • Mupfurutsa was the first musician to chair the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association that takes care of musicians’ royalties. He led the association for 20 years and its membership grew from 100 musicians in 1988 when he took over to 3 000 by last year when he was moved to deputy chairperson position.
  • He was the first local producer to record an internationally-based rhumba group when he did an album for Kanda Bongoman titled Safari yaZimbabwe.
  • Following Fortune Muparutsa’s death in the United Kingdom in 2008 and the long delay in scheduled burial back home due to financial constraints, Mupfurutsa was one of the major sponsors who ensured that the body was flown back home and buried after about a year in a UK mortuary.
  • Through his promotions company, Zimswag he brought in Akon and Sean Paul for their gig last year.
Artists have already been expressing their shock and sorrow. Mehluli Moyo, one half of Afrika Revenge wrote this on his Facebook wall
very dark day in my life,my frend,my mentor,my brother prince tendai passed on this crashed.
Producer Tatenda Take Fizzo Jenami wrote
Rip Prince Tendai, Gone too soon!
Prince Tendai Mupfurutsa was will forever be remembered in the industry as a man with an eye for talent and style.
May his soul rest in peace.

Below is one of his songs, Something Mysterious off his 2011 album which gives an insight into the final year of Prince Tendai’s life.

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