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Where Did Sungura Originate From?

Alick Macheso
Alick Macheso

Talk of Sungura Music the first name to pop up in your mind will be non other the Sungura Maestro ALICK MACHESO. Well he has established himself to be a contender for the KING OF SUNGURA. Today we are going to investigate from different sources the origins of SUNGURA MUSIC.




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The name Sungura is reportedly taken from Swahili folk-tale which means rabbit. This is what blogger WONDER GUCHU had to say about the origins of SUNGURA: The real master of sungura music is John Chibadura who brought it to the bright lights of Harare from the backwaters of Domboshava riding on the ashes of Mverechena Band in the early days of independence.

Chibadura was there when the first ever sungura song, Huri Hwese naKatsande was released by the Dzivaresekwa-based Holy Brothers Band.

He was there together with Shepherd Chinyani, Sam Chikadzura and Fox Maluwa. It was Chibadura together with Chinyani who introduced the brand to Ronnie Gatakata, Ephraim Joe, George Matizha, Moses Marasha, Never Moyo and Bata Sintirawo

According to PINDULA: Sungura reportedly originated from the Democratic Republic of Congo. One Zimbabwe musician, Mura Nyakura who travelled to Zaire in 1948 fell in love with the kanindo-rhumba beat there which he then introduced to Zimbabwe.

The genre later became known as sungura music, with the likes of Ephraim Joe and his band the Sungura Boys popularising it. Within a few years time, the genre was to become most popular music genre with over three quarters of the musicians playing it.

Legendary producer, Bothwell Nyamhondera is credited for producing sungura music becoming one of the originators and earliest proponents of the genre.The first popular sungura outfit was the Ephraim Joe led Sungura Boys.

The group was composed of talented guitarists and lyricists such as John Chibadura, Simon Chimbetu, Naison Chimbetu and System Tazvida.

Very interesting insights from these two sources, in all fairness SUNGURA has become the sole genre that fully represents the strength of the Zimbabwean Music Industry. Of course we have other genres in the industry which include the traditional mbira music, urban grooves, zim dancehall, zim hip hop and many others but they really haven’t come to stand out from the rest.

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