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South African Singer Umanji first and last performance at The Book Cafe,Zimbabwe

Updated on May 15, 2011

South African musician performing at The Book Cafe Harare,Zimbabwe

Umanji performing in Zimbabwe

South Africa and the world lost a tremendous artist to AIDS in 2008.Umanji will be remembered for his soothing distinct voice and a vibrant stage presence.

Captured here, he was performing for his first and apparently last time in Zimbabwe at the Book Cafe in Harare. He came to the stage as an unknown on the day but by the end of his one hour slot,music fans, who had initially doubted his performance quality, were clamouring for more. Through his music, he managed to win over a brand new audience in an hour-a remarkable feat.It must be noted that,this was in spite of the language difference between the South African singer and his Zimbabwean audience.

Off stage, Umanji was a humble soul with a soft voice,he managed to dis-engage with the glamour of stardom and interact with the public in a pleasant manner,a quality highly admired in artists.

We managed to share "growing up in Africa" stories in the brief moment we had back stage. He grew up in a humble family and learned to play the guitar from an early age,a common trait amongst young boys as they seek to entertain themselves while herding cattle. The thing he remembered most was his desire to share his talent with the world. He achieved his dream,albeit in a very short life. 

The Book Cafe

A small cafe that doubles up as a performance and workshop venue in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare. With its cultural programme,it has developed elements of entertainment such a music,poetry,stand up comedy and live discussions.Umanji came to Zimbabwe with the facilitation of The Book Cafe.

Umanji died of AIDS-related causes in February 2008. Limpopo Premier Sello Moloto said at the time, “He was a talented musician with acclaim both here at home and abroad. There is no doubt that his style and sound will remain unique amongst his peers. Umanji will be dearly missed by our government and the people of our province.”- Source: Wikipedia


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