YESTERYEAR jazz crooner Bob Nyabinde has tested positive to diabetes which has rendered him almost blind.
Affectionately known as “The Headmaster”, Bob (65), recently went under the knife to restore his eye sight and is still a bit under the weather.
“The Headmaster” got diagnosed with diabetes in late 2018 and has been on medication since.
“I want to thank the doctors who operated on me. I am not asking for sympathy from anyone. It is just a condition and people should accept it.
“I can hardly see at times but I am recovering as you can see I am fit as a fiddle. What I want to encourage people today is to go for regular check ups with your doctor at the clinic or hospital. Believe you me, this took me by surprise when I was told that I was diabetic,” he said.
He then opened up on his lifestyle as a musician, teacher, father and advisor.
He is staying in Mount Pleasant Heights, Harare with his son Aggabu.
His wife died of cancer in 2007 and he never remarried, choosing to take care of two sons, Albert and Aggabu.
“I have two sons, let us just say that,” he jokingly poised.
“I love my new project that I am working on with my sons and this business is growing. We make personalised guitars for US$250 and repair or make another depending with the client.
“When people ask me what I think about jazz music, I would say it is totally different because things change daily and we need to accept reality,” he said.
He does not regret abandoning teaching and was once given an opportunity to return and he refused.
“I was once a teacher and headmaster of several schools which include my first school Farai Primary in 1977, Torwood R.J Davis, Somalala Primary in Zhombe, St Judes’ Primary, St Martin De Porres and Chana Primary where I then resigned in 2007 to do music full time.
“I trained as a primary school teacher at Mutare Teachers’ College. Growing up, I was a nomad, I learnt at various schools. Some of my classmates include former Caps United player the late Size Torindo and Wonder Chisetaera. So during our time, we would gather and play at clubs such as Hilltop and Baithall learning music.
“Those clubs brought up the likes of Runn Family — Peter, Gerry and Fortune Mparutsa, Bothwell Mhondera among others,” he explained.
The “Pane Nyaya” hitmaker also said they grew up watching and admiring Professor Freddy Zindi’s band — “The Pop Settlers”.
The Headmaster shied away from taking credit for the creation of some of the artistes who went on to win great awards.
“It is scary to go around town strutting one’s chest that these are my products. They have made it in life on their own though with my guidance. Did you know I taught Moice Matula affectionately known as Ghetto Soldier in primary school. He began his career in Harare before going to Germany.
“I taught the late Ian Hillman, Andy Brown’s guitarist. I also taught Tamy Moyo to play the guitar and sing and today she is an award winner,” he said.
Asked about the pre-independence to post era how the music life shaped him, he said:
“My music appeals to everyone and is inspired by societal setting.
“I try to please everybody, while doing what I want. I’m an entertainer. I can say that jazz musicians speak of a quality that echoes the blues no matter what is being played. Back then we were suppressed and oppressed. Did you know during our time, we would sing behind curtains as backing vocalists for white community at Meikles Hotel?
“Right now we are honoured to have various platforms and opportunities. I would like to thank the Ministry of Arts and Culture and the Information ministry for hosting galas, that is where some of us started getting recognition,” he said.
He said not many people know that the late James Chimombe used to host gigs for him.
“I owe credit to various people, the late Oliver Mtukudzi donated my first set of equipment and invited me for recordings. The late James Chimombe too would host gigs for me. You cannot talk about music without mentioning Robson Kademe who put ZigZag band on the map, Phillip Svosve, Friday Mbirimi, William Kashiri and the late Safiriyo Madzikatire among others.
“It was very hard going to Grammar studios and being turned away because they would say your music is not good but now we have many recording masters, policies and studios,” he said.
He loves sadza and vegetables in peanut butter and T-bone steak though he has been discouraged by the doctor.
His first album titled “Panenyaya” did well with hit song “Chabuda Hapana” trending and topping the charts, leading to him scooping Afro-Jazz Artiste of the year in 2003 at the Zimbabwe Musical Awards.
“Baba’s condition worries us. People are expecting a lot from him but they should understand that he is not the same Bob. He can no longer drive and walk in public alone and sometimes he mistakes people.It gets worse at night. So I urge the public to understand his condition,” said his second son Aggabu.