Zimbabwe Profiles People Leonard Zhakata Biography: Age, Music Career, Rivalries, Comeback

Leonard Zhakata Biography: Age, Music Career, Rivalries, Comeback

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Leonard Zhakata Biography: Age, Music Career, Rivalries, Comeback

Leonard “Karikoga” Zhakata is a singer and musician from Zimbabwe who was born on June 25, 1968. He mostly writes and sings in the Shona language. Zhakata is famous for his songs Hupenyu Mutoro, Batai Mazwi, and “Gomba Remarara.” His 1994 hit, Mugove, from the album Maruva Enyika, made him a national star after it was able to avoid government censorship. Zhakata is also known for his signature sparkling outfits.

Leonard Zhakata Age

Leonard Zhakata-Image Source(Facebook)

Leonard Zhakata-Image Source(Facebook)


The musician was born on the 25th of June in 1968, which makes him 58 years of age. Zhakata was born and raised in Manicaland, which is where he comes from, before he relocated to Harare to pursue his career.

Leonard Zhakata’s Music Career

In 1986, Leonard Zhakata started writing his first song and became a member of a group called Marxist Brothers. Other members of the group were Simon Chimbetu, Nicholas Zakariah, John Chibadura, Daiton Somanje, and Leonard Dembo. Zhakata split from the group with his nephew Thomas Makion to form Maungwe Brothers. Simon Chimbetu formed Dendera Kings with his brothers Brian and Naison Chimbetu. Nicholas Zakariah formed Khiama Boys, while Leonard Dembo and Daiton Somanje went solo.

Leonard Zhakata-Image Source(Facebook)

Leonard Zhakata-Image Source(Facebook)

When Zhakata was 26 years old in 1994, he became the youngest Zimbabwean musician to sell over 100,000 copies of an album. His solo album Maruva Enyika sold more than 120,000 copies.

Leonard Zhakata is the only boy in a family of seven and is a qualified Fitter and Turner. He started playing music with his primary schoolmates and composed his first song, “Baba vaSamson”, at the age of thirteen while attending Shiri Yedenga School in Glen Norah, Harare. After finishing school, he served an apprenticeship, and it took him some time before he could record his music. He was turned down by recording companies before he recorded his first 12-inch single entitled “Moyo muti” in 1989, followed by an album called “Yarira Mhere” in 1990.

Zhakata became famous for his songs like ‘Tungidza Gwenya’ and ‘Shungu dzemwoyo’. He was not very well-known in the Zimbabwean music scene until he released his hit album called Maruva Enyika in 1994, which had the popular song called Mugove. He had a talented musical group called The Zimbabwean All Stars Band and a great dance performance that made the album very popular during the festive season of that year. People played “Mugove” at every party they went to. Zhakata proved that he was a great musician. He released more successful albums like Nzombe Huru, Vagoni Vebasa, and three others which made him very popular.

Leonard Zhakata’s Nickname

Leonard Zhakata-Image Source(Facebook)

Leonard Zhakata-Image Source(Facebook)

Zhakata gave himself the nickname Karikoga, which means “Loner.” He got this nickname because he grew up in poverty as a child with no siblings. He dedicated at least one song on many of his albums to people who suffered as he did, and to people who had difficult upbringings.

Zhakata banned from TV and radio stations

In 2006, Zhakata spoke out about the government and asked for the freedom of radio waves to allow Zimbabweans to operate radio stations. Some of his music has been banned by the government and is not played on state radio due to political messages.

Leonard Zhakata’s music rivalries

Like many other artists, Leonard Zhakata has had rivals. Whether it was a rivalry formed by fans as they pinned artists against each other or not. Some of his rivalries were with Alick Macheso, Leonard Dembo, Tongai Moyo, and Simon Chimbetu.

Leonard Zhakata Albums

Leonard Zhakata performing-Image Source(Facebook)

Leonard Zhakata performing-Image Source(Facebook)

  • Vagoni vebasa
  • Ndingaite Sei
  • Pakuyambuka
  • Mandishorei
  • Udza Vamwe
  • Dzave Ndangariro
  • Mupendero wenguva

Leonard Zhakata’s Personal Life, Wife, and Family

He lived in Rusape and saw the liberation war against Ian Smith’s government as a child. When he was young, he joined the war effort and became one of the youngest war collaborators.

Zhakata is married to Ruth and they have four children named Chamu Lionel, Angela Leossa, Petula Pepukai, and Kanotonga Lennon.

Leonard Zhakata’s comeback

In 2022, Zhakata announced that he was making a comeback in the music industry and teased an album. The album Mupendero Wenguva was well-received by fans and its launch was successful with many other artists as supporting artists.

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