Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
Following his Friday night ordeal at The Zim Oneness eGala, Alternative musician Hwabaraty answered some questions as to who he is and what drives him as an artiste.
Below is an excerpt of an interview of the Bulawayo based performer.
What does Hwabaraty mean? Is that your real name?
No, it’s a stage name. It was given to me by an audience that I performed for at the SADC Festival in Harare. There were people from Botswana there, they were cheering me on saying “kiyakurata” a direct translation of we love you” in Tswana, but as someone who doesn’t understand the language, I thought they were saying “Hwabaraty”. From then on, I started using it as my stage name.
Are you married?
Yes, I have a wonderful wife and a lovely daughter.
What type of music genre do you perform?
I do alternative music which cuts across many genres. You might find me in jazz or hip-hop songs or mbaqanga, but that culture remains strong.
Watch his music here: Hwabaraty YouTube page
Where did you grow up?
Bulawayo born and bred. My hood is Njube. I represent Njube, iKasi lama kasi (my neighbourhood)!!!
Have you won an award?
No, I have not. I’ve been nominated every year, but I have never won an award.
How do you write your songs?
I am inspired by reality. I tell stories. I am a social commentator and so I don’t have limits. I’ve also worked with many producers. I started with Mjoks, he’s the one who discovered me. I’ve worked with Percy, Face, Godwin Smallz, Shirati, Cliff Jeans, Shakers records, Cooperman, Slebba, Nash productions from Rockup Studioz.
What other forms of art do you do?
I’m an actor too. I’ve featured and executed many projects. For instance, in the Zimbabwean sitcom, Izolo Yizolo, I played the role of a traditional healer, Achibobo.
What do some people not know about you?
I run an organization, The Hothaus Zimbabwe where I mentor young people within and outside schools in stage improvisation, choreography, acting, scriptwriting, music and I have many success stories among the young people who I have worked with.
If we want to treat you out to a drink – what do we buy you?
Fanta. I don’t drink alcohol nor smoke. Overall, I don’t take any substances, I stay sober. I just love soft drinks and fresh juice.
How about food?
I don’t like fancy food, I’m pretty simple. Simple living.
You’re always so energetic on stage! Where do you get the energy?
It’s unexplainable. It’s this in-born fire within me. The stage is my office and in my office there’s good reception, so when you step into my office, I have to serve you.
Hwabaraty … we only see you on stage. Where can we find you??
Apart from my social media. I spend most of my time with my family, if I’m not with family I’ll be working in the community – I’m very passionate about community development. You won’t see me randomly at a club or fashion show.
How long have you been in the music/art game?
I started my musical journey in the year 2006. My breakthrough was when I released Woza Nhlanhla, this was a huge turning stone. I was mainly a ghost writer before. At this day l have five albums under my belt.
Izolo Yizolo, I featured playing the role of a traditional healer, Achibobo
What is your take on religion and spirituality?
I don’t judge people. Whether you are a Christian, traditionalist, or even both. Izinyanga lama Christo, we are all children of God. Me, I just do my role as a musician to revive our culture because at the end of the day we must know where we come from, as people, as Africans. My music is part of that cultural revival and to celebrate where we are now through music. This is why you will find both church and traditional songs in my albums because I don’t discriminate, I’m just a mouth piece.
What’s a music-related memory that you keep close to you?
The Hope album that featured likes of the late Oliver Mtukudzi, Jah Prayzah, Tammy Moyo, Sam Siwela, Alexio, Paulla Paloma and many more. Doctor Oliver Mtukudzi was so supporting and he loved my sound – It was heart-warming.
How about touring?
I’ve been travelling outside of Zimbabwe as a dancer, but as a musician I’ve only performed within Zimbabwe and in Nambia, so far.
Any last words?
I believe in unity, oneness. Within Zimbabwe and the world at large