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Unveiling New Dendera Sensation

By Stephen Ephraem

WHEN Simon and Naison Makhalile recorded their debut single titled Nherera (with flip side Cossam) in 1981, little did they know that the journey they had just began would transform millions others in the arts industry for generations to come.

The Makhalile siblings who had no band named themselves Marxist Brothers and had to record their music backed by bands such as OK Success, People’s Band (now Police Band) and Sungura Boys.

The duo later changed their surname to Chimbetu and formed a group which they named Orchestra Dendera Kings in the mid 1980s. They identified their music as Dendera, which the bassline imitates sounds of the southern hornbill bird (dendera in vernacular language).

Gone but not forgotten, Simon and Naison Chimbetu’s Dendera music artistry has been kept alive by their sibling, Allan and their legacy which include Sulumani, Tryson, Saiwe and Douglas.

It is interesting to note that apart from the Chimbetu legacy, there are several other souls who are passing on the Dendera baton stick. These include seasoned Chamson Boroma, Forster Mkwebu and now a new man on the block, Professor Sancto.

Born 48 years ago in Mberengwa, Midlands Province, Professor Sancto (real name Sanction Sibanda) spent his early life at Chingezi area. He moved to Zvishavane when he got employed by Zimbabwe’s leading asbestos producer, Shabani Mine.

“I started music in school with a friend named Chauke. I started recording with my five member group called Orchestra Albatross Kings. We recorded my debut album titled Southern Message which has five songs namely Summer, Albatross, Emma, Kudai uripo and Mwana.

“Right now, I’m working on a new album called Yahwe. I have already completed two songs Yahwe and Kanguva Kadiki on that album. I hope to finish recording in the near future. As an upcoming musician, I take my time to carefully produce quality sound,” said Sancto.

This reporter managed to sample the two new songs to be contained in the new album. The track Yahwe in which the singer asks God the Almighty to protect every living soul during this hard time of Corona Virus promises to be a scorcher.

There is no doubt that Professor Sancto means real business whenever he goes into the studio.

“My beat is purely Dendera music. I grew up admiring how the Chimbetus mastered their songs. Their artwork inspired me a lot that I don’t want to be identified with any other beat than Dendera.

“I’m not a full time musician but an electrician and a baker in my own right. If all goes well, I wish to run my own music company. I am still looking forward to getting a promoter so that I can acquire regular shows,” added Professor Sancto.