THE DAY DON GUMBO THREW ME OUT OF HIS HOUSE


Busi Ncube has revealed the real reason, Ilanga fell apart all those years ago – money. She said band leader, Don Gumbo suddenly threw the rest of the band out of his Mabelreign house.

“He just changed one day when we were sitting like we are right now. People were smoking and sitting in the house like we always did. We used to sit around as a band and smoke with the windows open. All of a sudden Don just chased everyone out.

“We were going to sit and talk about how we were going to use the money then he just snapped and said I don’t have the money, the money is in Ireland,” she told Sunday News.

“When money comes people change. Things changed when we came back from overseas. We went for a tour in the UK. When we came back there were money issues and everything.

“He completely changed all of a sudden. He started saying people can’t come to his house blah blah blah but it was the issue of money at the root of it. It was all about money.  Because we had said that we had said we’re going to keep some of the money that we made on tour and use it for this and that. Remember this was after Andy had left. He had left before all the money issues,” Ncube says.

 “He just changed and then he went to South Africa and I was surprised. I was taken aback. We went our way and he went his way. Gumbo had decided to ditch Ilanga and form Tshisalanga in South Africa, where he also played as a session musician for jazz heavyweights like Jabu Khanyile.

Ncube says she never heard from Gumbo again before things started going bad for him. She followed Gumbo to South Africa but that did not work out and she returned home.

Ncube would go on to form her own band as she could not use the Ilanga name as she was not a founding group member. The next time she would see Gumbo was when he was under his mother’s care in Pumula (Bulawayo), as he had fallen ill during his stay in South Africa.

“The next thing I heard he was sick. He was my colleague and brother so I had to come and see him in Bulawayo. I came to Bulawayo for two weeks and I was visiting him during that time he was in Pumula with his mother. He was feeling good and could now walk with help and we had to help take him to the toilet. Two days after I went back to Harare he passed on so I was glad I said goodbye to him,” she says.

Two decades after his death, Ncube still maintains that moving to South Africa was the celebrated bassist’s worst mistake.

“I think he shouldn’t have gone to South Africa. I think he should have sat and thought about it. You know money comes and money goes. When he was sick it was now sad because he would cry to me for help. He was stubborn about going there but it didn’t turn out to be good for him,” she said.

Busi is now based in Norway and is back in Zim on holiday. 

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