Fortune Muparutsa : A music legend who lived ahead of his time

Celebrating a music legend whose creative works were ahead of our time. His life was cut short but his music and productions still reverberate and resonates with the future. The (Wheels of Fortune) WOFMan as he was affectionately called, Fortune Muparutsa was a musical genius who lived ahead of his time, from production, compositions to performances. Muparutsa died 13 years ago on the 25th October, 2008 in the United Kingdom but legacy lives.

By Marshall Shonhai & Plot Mhako (with some excerpts from Pindula)

But, who was the WOFman?

Fortune was born on the 14th of June in 1968 in Mutare to a musical family. He started his music career just after finishing secondary school.

His brothers Peter and Jerry were already part of the band ‘Sound Power’ which split in the 1970s. Together with Bothwell Nyamhondera, Peter Phiri and the late Alois Muyaruka they formed the Real Unique Natural Notion (RUNN) Family group.

The group was divided into two, A and B and Fortune was with the latter which also included his siblings. Fortune later joined the A group in 1986 when one of the group’s lead artiste Nyamhondera moved to Harare.

Fortune Muparutsa was a popular Zimbabwean Rhythm and Blew singer, song writer and producer, who at the time of his death was about to be signed to renowned singer Akon.
Fortune Muparutsa

Within a year of joining the group Fortune changed the group for the better in 1987, they did a tribute to the late President Mugabe which gave them a big breakthrough. The success saw them release ‘Inhapitapi Chete’ and ‘Moyo Muti Unomera Paunoda’ which became instant hits.

The Runn Family in the 80s
The Runn Family in the 80s
Part of the Runn Family members _ Jerry Muparutsa, Mike Muparutsa, Ansie Boka and Peter Muparutsa (2019)
Part of the Runn Family members _ Jerry Muparutsa, Mike Muparutsa, Ansie Boka and Peter Muparutsa (2019)

In 1989, after his brother Peter left the group, Fortune went on to join Clancy Mbirimi and Chipeni who had been members of the Harare Mambos. 

That same year he continued to work with many other artists and bands and he did guitar work at the star studded Ilanga and played keyboards at Andy Brown’s Storm.

He then decided to pursue a solo career calling himself Wheels of Fortune and eventually releasing ‘Wangu ndega‘ which was many people’s favourite. Fortune went into recording and music production and later worked with several urban grooves artists making hits some of the hits that include In My Dreams by Innocent Utsiwegota, Ndinomhanya by Alexio, Boy U Got To Know by Tia & Come To Party by Major Playaz a just to mention a few

“My first experience of his music was through the song “Sangoma”. I was a little boy, just doing my grade 4 but music had already become an integral part of my young life. I loved the song so much I remember my grade 4 teacher making me perform it in front of the whole class I know right.” Marshall Shonhai

Fortune Muparutsa – Sangoma

“At home we also had a record by Fortune, yes maRecords is what we called them. It was a 7 inch single, on one side it had the song “Rumours makuhwa” and on the flip side carried “Ngairohwe ngoma” (that is how music came back in our day, not on CD or as MP3 or whatever other formats we now have today. Music came on vinyl records, for those not in the know, vinyl records came as a 7 inch which carried a song on each side or LP (long play) or album the 12 inch single, this could take as many as 6 song on each side).” Marshall Shonhai

Then came the monster hit Wangu ndega or kana matombo as we called it. That was 93/94 and it was a huge hit on Mutinhimira wemimhanzi / Ezomgido but yainyadzisira, well for those days at least.

That one part about “shandisa condom, condom” it was controversial because the us of condoms meant direct talk of sex and it was a taboo.

Wangu ndega came from the album Wheels of Fortune, which was his only album, it carried others songs like Kure kwaunoenda, Simbarashe amongst others. It was an album that changed urban music as we knew it.

“Some could say Fortune paved the way for urban grooves and is a pioneer of the genre but I would actually say urban grooves failed to emulate what Fortune was trying to do. They missed by a very wide margin.”

Did you know this was PAPA LODZA of Raw Musik and BadBwoy family ?
#WanguNdega Fortune Muparutsa

Iam of the opinion that no one has quite grasped what Wasu was trying to do with our music. 

MARSHALL SHONHAI

13 years later we celebrate musical diversity, a generation of new amazing producers such as Dj Tamuka, Oskid, Levels, Murphy Cubic, Lazzie T amongst others, more than a hundred recording studios sprout around the country, thousands of artists, most of them pursuing the urban sound.

The urban and pop sound from Zimbabwe continues to grow and keeps making strides at home and slowly penetrating the international space with artists like Sha Sha winning the BET Award. Muparutsa, the likes of Delani Makhalima, Take 5, TBA, Flash Gordon, Prince Tendai, A Peace of Ebony, Themba Ndlovu, Ilanga were part of the ground breakers.

Fortune was a musical genius who was never in a rush to release and produce new music and everything he touched literally turned into gold. Authenticity and creative dexterity became his trademark and his sound undoubtedly remains unmatched.

Long before the term swag made it into pop culture, Fortune was already trendsetting with his clean shave, signature hairstyle and finesse, slick looking outfits.

His sense and taste for refined apparel is something a lot of the new artists need to learn.

In My Dreams _ produced by Fortune Muparutsa
One of Fortune’s productions _ Major Playaz

The story of Fortune Muparutsa needs to be told, celebrated and to be passed on to generations to come.

The biggest Question is!

Will the music being made today stand the test of time?

Will Hello Mwari, muGarden, Ngaibake and Sadza neMuriwo still be listenable  20 years from now?

“I ask this because after 10 years since the release of what is arguably one of the best R n B song to come out of Zimbabwe, Dream girl is still sounding fresh and if you didn’t know, the song caught Akon‘s ear who wanted to sign the artist-cum-producer but sadly he passed on two months later on the 25th of October, 2008.”

WANGU NDEGA LYRICS posted on GENIUS by @cee_chikk

how others remember FORTUNE muparutsa

Booker T Zimbabwe « Artist (He worked with Fortune) : During his time, Fortune was way ahead of the rest and it’s unfortunate that some of us could not afford his services. One of his strengths was in getting the best out of an artist, something that impressed me as i saw him at work from Country Boy to the above mentioned productions. We should also take note that Fortune had switched to Digital Production, hence the quality and most where complimenting with Analogue Production. Delani, Take 5,TBA are Legends in their own rights, lest we forget.

Shame of Shame & Nathan « Artist : Fortune Mparutsa was not a mass production guy. He put more effort into quality. Working with the late Fortune Mparutsa was like a University experience. 

MISRED « Radio Dj: Fortune Muparutsa is one of the artists who made me fall in love with music the way I do today! Cried when I came across this song (so many different emotions), hope your soul is resting peacefully! Thank you for giving us timeless music to hold on to!

Khulekani Bethuleaka Khuxxman « Artist : Fortune is a legend in as far as music is concerned.. No doubt..songs such as Country boy,In my dreams etc were excellent and are still relevant showing how much influence they had!

Alishias Musimbe : Apa pasangana vanhu vaasingazive zvavari kutaura ne vamwe vanoziva Fortune Hapana so far chinhu chakambogadzirwa mu Zim chinosvika even padhuze.Bvunzai Vakuru venyu vanoziva music.

Tendai Mutangadura :Fortune “Wolfman” Mparutsa still in his own league..

Hilton Nhidza « Artist :The Best producer singer and composer ever to emerge from zim.Wofman was way ahead of his time….No one can ever surpass him…

Charly Mars « Artist : He was a great producer indeed.Still bumping to some of his productions he did for Major players like come to party,take you home and material girl.

Lazzie T Chapo « Music Producer : Sure uyu munhu uyu ndiye enge aridhara kupfura munhu wese

Alexio Kawara « Artist (Who worked with Fortune Muparutsa} :He produced two hit songs of mine, Ndinomhanya and Kumba Kwenyu. Timeless.

Edson Mapuranga « Music Fan :I’m listening to Fortune Muparutsa music ,he was the best music producer in Zim,he was the greatest.

Trevor Mawaka « Music Blogger :I think that the word versatility in music can easily be described by listening to FORTUNE MUPARUTSA.

Magdalene Lafontant « Nakai Skincare & Cosmetics founder: The voice 🎶The swagg ‼️‼️‼️💯💯

Cee Jay Besa «« Artist: WOF used to do a one man show with Keyboard and acoustic guitar at Crown Plaza. It was inspirational bro. He could really sing.

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