Unpacking The Legacy Of Safirio “Mukadota” Madzikatire | His Enduring Influence on Local Arts
Safirio Madzikatire, popularly known as Mukadota, was a versatile artist who excelled in both comedy and music.
He earned his moniker from his portrayal of the character Mukadota Baba VaRwizi in “The Mukadota Family,” a Shona television drama that aired on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Television (ZTV) during the 1980s and early 1990s.
Madzikatire is widely recognized for his unique ability to seamlessly blend humour and music during his performances. His songs “KuHanyani” and “Usandisiye” were both instant hits and helped propel him to great heights of success in his career.
Background And Education
Born on April 2nd, 1932, Safirio Madzikatire hailed from Tanda, a rural village in the district of Rusape, Manicaland.
He spent his formative years in the National (later renamed Mbare after Zimbabwe’s independence) neighbourhood. Raised by his mother’s family, he was the only son.
Safirio Madzikatire’s birth name was actually Xavier Madzikatire, and the name Safirio was a “corruption” of Xavier. He did his primary education at Chitsere Primary School In Mbare.
Mukadota’s artistic career began during his time as a student at Chitsere Primary School in Mbare in the 1940s, where his love for art blossomed and flourished.
In 1948, he sought to refine his skills by learning from Kenneth and Lainah Mataka, who were known for nurturing raw talent. With their guidance, Mukadota was able to develop his abilities in singing and playing the guitar.
After honing his skills, Mukadota decided to pursue a career as a travelling comedian and solo guitarist. Despite the low regard for musicians in the industry at the time, he remained passionate and determined to succeed.
In pursuit of his dreams, he had the opportunity to work alongside some of the best music groups of the era, such as Golden Rhythm Crooners and the Cool Four.
Through his polished acts that incorporated drama, Safirio Mukadota gained a reputation as one of the country’s top performers. He worked alongside Susan Chenjerai, also known as Mai Rwizi, and dancer-actor Elizabeth Taderera, aka Katarina.
Since he did not have his own instruments, Mukadota joined the Great Sounds for a brief period before moving on to the Afro Jazz Fiesta.
In 1964, he formed a band with Susan Chenjerai, and together they released the hit song “Isaac Hauchandida Here” in 1967.
Following the group’s disbandment in 1971, Mukadota joined and later led the Delight band while also founding the Sea Cottage Sisters. They traveled with the Ocean City Band and started a radio program called “Mhuri YavaMakore,” featuring Safirio’s son Elijah Madzikatire, Susan, and her late daughter Patricia.
The program, produced by Webster Shamu, added to Mukadota’s success until a disagreement among the producers led to a name change to “Mhuri YaVaMukadota” in 1972.
Mukadota became a regular performer at Paul Tangi Mhova Mkondo’s Club HideOut 99, where his shows were a hit.
However, his fortunes declined in the 1980s due to infighting and the formation of the New World Band, which failed to bring back his previous success.
Safirio Madzikatire died in 1996.