MARULA is synonymous with community life.
Marula fruits are edible and their juice can be consumes raw or even processed. The processed juice can be used to brew traditional ale. When dried, the nuts of the fruit are also cracked to extract nuts that are tasty.
In Mozambique and Zimbabwe’s Tsonga communities, there is also another form of marula which is not a fruit and also has a different spelling. It is a music genre.
Musical marhula is a genre which originates from Mozambique. The beat makes Josefa Chauke’s name come to mind. Chauke is the leader of Marhula Crew and the kingpin of Marhula music in Zimbabwe.
Marhula music has been recognised as influential.
Josefa Chauke won a prestigious award at this year’s edition of Great Limpopo Cultural Trade Fair that took place this on November 12-16 at Avuxeni Cultural Centre, Boli Mhlanguleni in Chiredzi South.
Chauke and his musical outfit, Marhula Crew was awarded the Koti (Vulture) arts award in recognition of their contribution to community conservation education through Xitshonga indigenous music in Chiredzi District.
Speaking to this publication, Josefa Chauke, affectionately known as Papa Tsongo, said that his award is dedicated to Zimbabwe as a country.
“I dedicate the award to Zimbabwe. I have become of what I am due to the support I have been getting from various stakeholders in the country.
“I thank National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, Mrs Mudefi and legendary musician Jonah Moyo for all the guidance. I thank the Tsonga communities in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa for all the support,” he said.
Josefa Chauke who is an ex-soldier also revealed that the award came at a time when he is finalising his third Tsonga six-track studio album titled Ntwanano Volume 3 – Matiyenga.
“The award came as I am in the studio finalising a six track album named Ntwanano Volume 3 – Matiyenga. As usual, I am singing in Tsonga (Xangana) language. The tracks are Marhungula, Ximbyanyana, Be yourself, Matiyenga, Tswotswa ngati and Kalavani,” said Papa Tsongo.
The 46 year old Josefa Chauke started recording music in 2005 with a Masvingo based army musical outfit named The 4 Lions Band. With the army band, Chauke released Ntwanano Volume 1 – Zaka Jerera.
The album comprises of six songs namely; Sheweni sheweni, Kurhivala, Juliana, Tlanga hi chuma, Muchatambura and Suka Sathani.
During his time with The 4 Lions Band, Papa Tsongo mentored South African based firebrand Marhula icon, Peter “Dr Nzvedas” Mathonsi.
Upon leaving the army in 2007, Josefa Chauke settled for the sugar growing and processing entity, Tongaat Hulett’s Hippo Valley Estates as a clerk. There he formed Marhula Crew. Papa Tsongo released his second album named Ntwanano Volume 2 – Direction in 2017. The album has songs namely: Byeriwa Utwa, Dzunise, Monica, Great Mama, Mangedyani, and Nikatekise.
Sheperd Shungu Shapiro “Tripple S” Moyo who is Devera Ngwena Jazz Band front man, Jonah Moyo’s son, featured as guest bassist on Ntwanano Volume 2 – Direction.
From the album, Josefa Chauke received rave reviews on National FM where the plug Swahili track Monica was voted number 24 on the station’s end of year Top 50 chart in 2017.