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Tawanda Chidakwa - Goats and music

Tawanda is originally from Harare, Zimbabwe. He currently lives in Mossel Bay and works at Fly Me To The Moon Guesthouse as a goat herder. Besides tending to the animals, he also enjoys singing, playing music and going to church. He has inherited a farm in Zimbabwe from his late grandfather, to which he is planning to return as soon as he’s gathered enough agricultural experience.

“I attended high school in Churchill Boys High in Harare, it was part of the A-schools there. There I started studying about agriculture. But I didn’t like agriculture, though. I used to bunk some lessons, in high school. It’s quite boring. But now I regret it, because now I’m going to have to do those things on my farms.

“My grandfather owned about five meadow lands, from war. He was a true mission fighting guy, he used to fight a lot in the war. He was also a minister, about five years ago before he passed away. They kept five farms. One of them he gave to my father, then my father passed away and it went under my name. It’s about 10 hectares. Now, my grandmother is just putting something, any crops, in the ground there. They are renting it to someone. Because if you don’t put something in it and just leave it like that, the government will come and take it. I want to go back, but not now. I’ll still be here maybe two or three years. I just want to get money to buy goats, cows and pigs – just little projects.

“What I used to like about school was music. If you take music, you have to be in the choir, and I was also in a pipe band, playing the Scottish bagpipes. But I’ve forgotten how to play it now. These days I’m basically playing the kalimba. It’s the same as a mbira – some people used to say you play it to call the ancestors, spirits, of Zimbabwe. I learned it from my grandfather, the war veteran. So he used to play that instrument too. So I used to copy him, but when I was small, it was too hard. This year, around January, I started to research about it. Then I got the kalimba, the English one. Bit by bit, I’m learning. Sometimes I come and play it here with the animals, sometimes at home. I like singing too, and I’m also a dancer, hip-hop dance.

Tawanda Chidakwa from Fly Me To The Moon Guesthouse in Mossel Bay on the Garden Route
Tawanda Chidakwa, musician and goat herder from Zimbabwe, now lives in Mossel Bay on the Garden Route

“These days I’m basically playing the kalimba. It’s the same as a mbira - some people used to say you play it to call the ancestors, spirits, of Zimbabwe. I learned it from my grandfather, the war veteran."

“I wasn’t planning to come to South Africa. But there in Zim, our economy, it’s low. But after two years of not working… I’ve passed school, but I just woke up in the morning, would just sit in the corners with the guys, chilling, until sundown, then I sleep. But some of our mothers, their hearts hurt a lot – these guys, they end up doing drugs and things like that. Then I thought, all right, because economy in South Africa is still working, you can get something there. That’s how I got here. And my aunt was living in Mossel Bay, so she said, ‘You can come here and stay with me, and start to do something.’

“First, I started to work as a welder. Then I worked for the Gourikwa game reserve. I was doing maintenance and so on. Then I worked at Kingfisher as a sushi wrapper. Then I heard some of the guys say, ‘Hey, there’s a job.’ I asked, ‘What job?’ They said it’s a job about goats.

“I thought that with goats, it’s all about just having some goats. But you have to inject them, check them if you don’t want them to be sick and to be in a good condition. I didn’t know about all of that. But now I know. As I’m the guy who has got a farm, who wants to do something on his farm back home. So now I’m happy, I’m getting the experience.

“My dream is to become an artist. Music. But now, sometimes if you think about it, God will put you into a different position. Still, you have to wait for it, then you do it. So now I can say my life, it’s in between. I don’t need to rush. My inspiration is this: all those people who are trying to be or do something else, they should wait until it’s God’s time. I still want to be a musician, but I think it’s going to be part-time. And I think I should go back to school. I’ll study about media and sound (audio). I think Zimbabwe has the best education ever, in Africa, because we have Cambridge. When I’m busy farming, I will study.”

Tawanda Chidakwa, Zimbabwean goat herder, working as a goat herder in Mossel Bay, the Garden Route

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