Those who predicted that her concert would be lack-lustre, offering nothing new, since she was in Zimbabwe earlier this year, were wrong. One friend said to me they were not coming because they were afraid it would be, "the Zahara desert, dry and lacking life and variety." If I can take her metaphor further I'll say it was the Zahara rain forest...
The Zimbabwean opening acts did not disappoint. Roki and his dancers were on fire although I’m really dying to hear some new material from him. Alexio reminded us all why he makes all those hits, he’s got super talent.
StarFM DJs Norma and VJ were the MCs and were joined at one point by Tich Mataz, DJ Munya and a few other personalities from the station. They managed to get everyone screaming a chant about how StarFM was the best station in the land. I know a PR coup when I see one. PowerFM, where are you?
When Zahara came on at around 11pm she was given loud love by the fans. Her powerful voice sent a warmth across the chilly night to the far reaches of the venue where people hummed, sang along or swayed to her music. She dropped songs from her hit album Loliwe and a few I have never heard before.
It’s women’s month in South Africa and Zahara told the audience that she “wanted to commemorate some of the women who have gone before us and laid a path for us.”
She then went on to do a tribute to Mirriam Makeba and then did two all time favourite Brenda Fassie songs, Promises and Vulindlela.
Then she did Ncwad’ Encane and called up Alexio to sing the Shona part, done by South African-based Zimbabwean DJ, George Munetsi, in the original track. “Before Alexio sings, let me sing it for you,” Zahara said as the crowd cheered the Shaina star onto stage. It was pure magic to hear her sing in my mother tongue and then when Alexio took over, he nailed it.
During her performance of My Guitar, the two guitarists in her band came forward at one point and the three of them showed off their guitar strumming skills. Those boys have skills. I got goose bumps in places I cannot name right now because my mother might read this article.
“I wrote that song because when I was growing up as a rural girl my guitar was the only thing I had,” Zahara explained to the audience.
A heart-warming part of the evening was when the South African star called up a 13-year old fan and presented her with a framed picture of her performing on the night she won eight gongs at the South African Music Awards.
“I want you to believe that if God could do it for me, he can do it for you also,” Zahara told her. “Whatever you want to do, it can happen for you.”
She closed her set about twenty minutes before 1am this morning with the magical last few notes from the title track of her album.
Winky D was up next and what an uproarious reception he got. The energy in the place changed as the Ninja President got about to doing his job. I bet Zahara was surprised by his fire on stage because earlier on in the day when he sat next to her during lunch at Endaweni restaurant in Belgravia, he seemed a bit shy around her.
I must commend Hardcoreworld Entertainment for a job well done. I loved the stage, the lighting was awesome and the sound was good, although I did hear one rumbling about how at the far end of the VIP section it was not as bone-rattling as some party-goers would have loved it to be.
The security and bars were well done, although I think putting the VIP section right at the back on the terraces, while logistically easier, took those who paid more away from the action. Maybe they should have had a large screen there to bring them right into the centre of the concert. I was stunned though at how many people paid the VIP price of US$30, It must have been over a thousand.
After Zahara’s show in Harare last night I believe that long after we are gone, our great great grand children will sing her songs. She is truly, one of Africa’s biggest musical talents of all time.