10 Zimbabwe music celebrities who died in 2023

By Caleb Chikwawawa

As Zimbabwe’s arts industry sees off 2023 and moves to 2024, the sad passing of a lot of music celebrities highlights an eventful year.

Zimstar News came up with a list of prominent musicians who died in 2023.

Stella Chiweshe

Credited with exporting Zimbabwe’s unique mbira sound to Europe and other world countries coupled with her energetic performance, Mbuya Stella Chiweshe succumbed to brain cancer on 20 January 2023.

She passed on at her home in Harare’s Kuwadzana suburb aged 77.

She was internationally known for her singing and playing of the mbira dzavadzimu, a traditional instrument in Zimbabwe.

She learned to play mbira from 1966 to 1969 when fewer females played the instrument.

Mbuya Chiweshe performed numerous times in Germany and also participated in the WOMAD festival (1994 in the United States, 1995 in Australia, and 2006 in Spain).

Kelly Rusike

The legendary Jazz musician and producer died on 17 May 2023 in Harare after battling diabetes.

Rusike was leader of a famous local jazz outfit, Jazz Invitation, which performed in Europe and at home together with the likes of the late legend Oliver Mtukudzi, Jimi Dludlu and Rozala Miller.

Likened to the Jackson Five, Kelly and his brothers back in the 80s and 90s featured in a number of commercials, among them one for Ngwerewere.

Diva Mavunga

David ‘Diva’ Mavunga was a veteran gospel singer who died in a car accident between Kwekwe and Kadoma on 4 July 2023.

The award winner was arguably one of the most influential local musicians in the genre, with albums and hit songs such as ‘Endai Naizvozvo’, ‘Fambai Nekutenda’, ‘Pfuurirai Mberi’, and ‘Ndicharamba Ndichidana’, among others.

Elvis Mathe

Insimbi ZeZhwane rumba band co-founder and lead singer Elvis ‘MaEli’ Mathe and drummer Thembinkosi ‘Maviri’ Mpofu died in a car accident along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road while returning from a performance in Binga on 5 August.

Arguably one of the most prominent music bands in Matabeleland, the sad passing of the group members brought a lot of emotion among music fans in the region.

They were accorded a state-assisted funeral by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Robson Kaitano

A popular musician in his heyday, Robson Kaitano died in August this year aged 69 after a battle with cancer.

Kaitano was popular in the late 1970s and after independence with his hit songs such as “Deredzai pfuma vatezvara”, “Tambai kongonya”, “Kuseni seni” and “Hondo yakarwiwa kare”.

When his health troubles got the better of him, he received assistance from the First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa through her Angel of Hope Foundation which provided him with blankets, food, and a home in Harare.

Trust Fidelis Nyathi

Trust Fidelis Mdluli Nyathi, a Bulawayo socialite, died of suspected suicide on the 2 October 2023.

Trust was lauded for his efforts in promoting the Bulawayo cultural scene. Back in the day, he began a movement called #15SecondsCulture which was crafted to drive and inspire arts creators to engage with their fans.

The initiative led to the discovery of a number of previously unknown artists.

Garry Mapanzure

This one evoked a lot of emotion. Afro-pop singer Garikai Munashe Mapanzure affectionately known as ‘’Garry’ died aged just 25 on 13 October 2023.

The singer died at a local hospital after sustaining serious injuries from a road accident along Beitbridge-Masvingo highway.

Eyewitnesses said the incident occurred when the vehicle collided with another in the Clipsham Views residential area.

The “Nditaurireiwo’’ hitmaker was a passenger in the car.

Terry G

Tichaona Terrence Green, stage name Terry G, was a Chitungwiza gospel singer and actor who died on 14 December 2023 at Arundel Hospital in Harare. He succumbed to a cardiac arrest, aged 31.

The musician was using a wheelchair for his mobility till his death after he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth.

Despite the medical condition, Terry Gee defied the odds to become a recognised musician in Zimbabwe’s competitive industry.

He rose to fame through hit songs such as “Makafanana” and “Ndezvemoyo” which he featured songstress Chipo Muchegwa.

Eric Moyo

An award-winning member of South Africa’s ensemble Joyous Celebration, Eric Moyo died a tragic death on 20 December 2023, after he collapsed onstage during a performance with the popular group.

He was 41.

In a statement, Joyous Celebration described Moyo as a talented singer who loved his craft until his last moments.

Moyo would also be remembered as the first winner of Idols East Africa, earning a recording contract as part of his victory in the talent search series.

Bob Nyabinde

A Zimbabwe Jazz legend, Bon Nyabinde died aged 68 on 23 December following a long illness after having been diagnosed with diabetes in 2018 which greatly affected his eyesight.

In 2021, he suffered a stroke which stalled his decades-long music career.

At the peak of his career, Bob Nyabinde churned out chart-topping tracks like “Chabuda Hapana” off his debut album “Pane Nyaya” released in 2002.

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