Vusa Mkhaya
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Vusa Mkhaya

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"The Spirit Of Ubuntu"



Vusumuzi Vusa Ndlovu was born on 19 October 1974 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city which is in Matebeleland. It is from here that he was introduced to Imbube early and fell in love with it. At nine years Vusa was already singing in the school choir. His school, Mahlabezulu Primary was within walking distance from his home in Tshabalala township. He recalls: “I was in third grade when I first sang in a choir and my voice just opened up. I remember loving it and was lucky because at home my family sang together at special occassions.
“My participation in this choir was to be a rude awakening for my singing prowess as I was later chosen to join the junior choir and then the senior. I sang in all the three levels in primary school.” The school choirs competed in annual national and regional song competitions which were conducted by the Ministry of Education. Vusa says the choir masters helped him mould his voice to perfection. He says: “In the three different choirs I was taught by three strict choir masters who all armed me with different singing formats. I evolved and sang with passion with each new assignment and challenge that came.”
With the school’s Scripture Union choir Vusa together with nine other pupils were invited to sing at Christian gatherings and at other school functions.
While at Mahlabezulu Primary school, Vusa played football and darts. He was also a Boy Scout.

His singing prowess was to be tested when he left primary school for Ihlathi secondary school and then later to Nhlambabaloyi Secondary school, 45 kilometers from the city. He says: “I joined the school choir within three days of arrival. I could not wait any longer and luckily I knew most of the songs they were rehearsing. After a year with the choir, I was appointed as its lead vocalist.”
But the day that was to change the direction of his singing career was to come in 1991 when he met a six-member school a cappella act called Insingizi who were performing at a Ministry of Education funtion. “They blew me apart with their voices. I knew I had to team up with these guys because they were also of my age. Dumisani Ramadu Moyo whom I sing with today, was among the six guys. I talked to the guys and we clicked,” Vusa recalls.
In 1992 He joined Insingizi and began performing professionally in schools, community halls, festivals. He says: “It was magic. I had replaced one of the member who left the group and we sang like we depended on it. We were invited to state functions like Independence celebrations and meeting the president at the airport. We were slowly gaining acceptance. And we sang acapella songs to perfection and roared like the big men in mines. It was Imbube time!”
While teachers at school encouraged Vusumuzi to concetrate on his school books, he knew that was not for him. His was music. His was singing, and singing Imbube.
Born in a family of seven, three of them female – his family was split on his decision and focus on music. He remembers: “I always knew it was going to be difficult to convince everyone in the family about my decision. My parents were very supportive of it while my brothers and sisters had their doubts.”
When he left school Vusumuzi had made up his mind. Now performing professionally, in 1995 he and Insingizi toured Austria, Denmark and Slovenia to much critical acclaim.

In 1996 the six-member Insingizi moved to Graz, Austria where Vusumuzi attended the Joseph Fuchs Music Conservatorium, a music college for three years majoring in music theory and learnt how to play the classical accordion. He says: “It was important that as an act we attended a music school in Austria as this helped us develop a new sense of musical direction bearing in mind that we were now confronted with the challenge to produce music that would suit our new targeted audiences. We knew that our move to Austria would mean a lot of engagements with locally based music professionals, hence the urgent need to refresh ourselves with European technics.”
The three years at the music college was spiced with a lot of activity, especially conducting workshops on drumming African drums and African dance.
Says Vusumuzi: “We always identify with our traditional way of dancing and drumming, and we impart this to interested students. We have travelled the breath and width, visiting schools and institutions conducting workshops. This kept us so busy and I still enjoy holding such workshops although today most of our time is spent touring.”