I first met Taku Mafika in January 2008, a year after I had fully ventured into the creative arts. I had gone to the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) offices in Mt Pleasant to renew a promoter’s license and he happened to have visited the offices for some business on the same day. On entering the reception area we casually greeted each other and soon we got to be good friends.
A memoir by Plot Mhako
On the day i met Taku Mafika i did not have bus fare to get back into town, so after finishing with the National Arts I had to walk. Interestingly he also didn’t have bus-fare and i spotted him walking ahead of me. I increased my speed, caught up with him and hoping to have company to walk the 5km to town. We started walking together and before we knew it we were already in the city centre. During the walk-talk we discovered we had several mutual friends, common interests, a more similar background and desires for the creative industry.
Since then, we became friends. I would visit him at Prince Edward and Churchill Boys High where he was teaching music to consult for my project, interact and listen to his music. For the few years that I got to know, work with him I could see the legend inside of him.
Taku was a rare creative with an amazing personality. His work touched many lives and he left a global footprint through his Mbira teachings that will live for generations.Plot Mhako
Many people may not easily recognise the name Taku Mafika but many players within the creative sector deeply adored him. He impacted many, collaborated with a lot of artists and tight multitudes of people across the globe and continues to teach and inspire.
Who was Taku Mafika?
Taku Mafika was a profound, warm hearted creative.
Takunda Mafika was a Mbira artist who specialised in the Nyunga Nyunga type, he was a music teacher and was also the co-founder and manager of the Mbira Society Zimbabwe. Taku as he was affectionately known had a degree in Music and Musicology earned from the Midlands State University in Zimbabwe. Since 2009 Taku worked as a UNESCO Schools coordinator within the framework of education for sustainable development.
He grew up in rural Chivhu before moving to Harare and he died on the 12th of October 2011 at the age of 28.
The talented Mbira player taught Mbira to individuals, local schools and colleges and held numerous workshops and performances in Zimbabwe, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Poland and Namibia.
He founded his own band the Tru Bantu and they recorded the album Dzimwe Nguva, that has sold both locally and internationally.
On the album he worked with Willom Tight, Chiwoniso, Alexio, Mafriq, Sebede, Sam & Selmor Mtukudzi, among others. In 2010 Taku was invited to join an international music tour organized by the Jesuit Mission Nuremberg, Germany, along with musicians from Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.
Through his music and activities Taku often addressed social issues in Zimbabwe as well as subjects of democracy and freedom. He was a known advocate for a peaceful and sustainable development in Zimbabwe. Apart from his committment as a UNESCO teacher he was the country coordinator for the Global Experience, an international NGO based in Münster, Germany. He was invited on numerous occasions to Germany to participate in conferences and trainings in matters of youth participation, intercultural learning and media competency.
A decade without Taku Mafika, the void still feels fresh. He may be gone but his tutorials online continue to teach Mbira to thousands across the globe.
Taku was taken to hospital after suffering from a stroke on 1st October 2011. He initially showed signs of recovering from a brain operation on 7th October, but his condition rapidly declined during the night of 11th October. Taku sadly passed away during the early hours of 12th October 2011.
His Album Dzimwe Nguva is still a masterpiece whose sound, message resonates with the present and the future.