MTAPE means ‘chief’ in Ndau language. Christopher was born and bred in Chipinge. He is not a chief in Ndauland. But he is one at Diamond FM Radio.
Christopher is known and loved for his educative programmes on radio. He anchors a popular HIV and AIDS programme and often invites experts on the pandemic. Together they inform and educate listeners on the several issues around the topic.
He does Ngatibhuyabhuye, Voimba Kumakomo – a local musicians promotion programme and Kutatichwa Kwemabhuku on Diamond FM attracting tens of hundreds. . . probably thousands of listeners who love Mtape to the bit and follow all his programmes.
Mtape Siduna has two signatures on radio; one is his cavernous Ndau, which is deep–seated in his vocal tranquillity. His Ndau is profound and yawning and brings out the Ndau lion sleeping deep and peaceful in his radio narratives. The second signature is his ululation . . . lililililili, which has become an unmistakable metaphor of boisterous delight exclaiming the climax of his ecstatic presentation. Mtape loves radio and it is not easy to tell what he loves more; his radio or his Ndau. My guess is, both.
Speaking to me on Diamond FM Radio recently on a Sunday afternoon programme called KNOW THEM BETTER, ‘the chief’ said radio was largely an entertainment platform but must educate listeners too.
“Kuaraidza ndikwo kwemene asi andizvopi zvega zvingaitwa pagindimukindi. Vantu vanode kudetserwa kupinimidze zviro zvendaramo zvine shwiro kana kuti biningidzo,” Mtape said in subterranean Ndau . . . typical of the chief on radio.
“Entertainment. . . fine! But that’s not all there is to do on radio. People (listeners) want to be assisted to think about critical life issues,” he said.
“Where did the appetite for radio grip you Mtape? What ignited it and can you remember how far back that was?” I ask.
“Ndakakura ndeinakirwa ngekupurutane mashoko emene paradio. Ndakamere chidakadaka chekuti yelee, dai zuwa rintani ndaajaha remene, ndazoerengawo mashoko ndingabaamere manhenga emene. Hino ndaichiti pamishongano yeSoto kana kuti chiara chedu kanyiyo, kakurutu paChirinda paya, kwaakumbokumbira madhodha, makhorwa makuru akona kuti ndaikumbirawozve kumboerenga ntau…mashoko. Kwaakuchierenga pamberi pembungano yeshe yamambo, ingatei ndiri paradio. Vantu vaibaanakirwa ndizvo yaamho…neniwo ndaibaazwa zveivhutanje. Kwaakuchiramba ndeidaro inga jee kana mutambe. Dzamara nako kamukhubako pindikiti muHarare pakacollege kandaifunda. Veshe vakapedzisira voondiziya kuti kuna Mtape Siduna…ndaibaababaza kuchireketa chiNdau muHararemwo ndisikambokhatari kuti kuna anani.”
All Mtape was saying here was how he grew up emulating radio news readers and how he developed a habit of imitating news anchoring on radio. He would do this even at church where he would compile news of what was going on during huge church meetings or conferences. He would ask for time to ‘read the news’ on the public address system and everybody loved it. Interlude sort of . . . at church! Very creative Mtape! Constructive mischief, if you like!
“At the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA) in Harare I was known for my avid love for Ndau language, which I spoke proudly and almost like an activist.”
“Radio presenters fancy fanciful names. They take up a nom-de-plume, war or Chimurenga name sort of, to ‘fight’ the radio fights on every programme. (We both cite examples of colourful radio names) This obviously makes every presenter with such a name escape himself for a while and become someone else he or she imagines or dreams. Is this how you came to be known as Mtape? Is that your radio name?”
“Amuvazii ere vantu sezara! Ndakatoripuwawo zinaro ngevantu. Weshe muntu unobve Chipinge riridhodha zviya anditi vanoti ndiMtape? Ungacharamba ere vanokudakarirawo vakupe bizo rakadaro? Ingaanendaa ere mhanza . . . ainandaa…mhanza yakanaka, aipedzi sipho. Inini I don’t feel like taking up a new name. I am a very humble person. Zvakatokwana izvozvo. Randakapuwa ndimairo rakakwana. Ndakabarwa padhuze neKisimusi mai vakati kambe ndodudze mwanawu ere kuti Christmas? Kwaakuchizoti aaah, ngatimuti Christopher . . . haaauya padhuze neKisimusi ngatichiti Christopher . . . zvakade kutodzana nekuti Christmas. Padoodoko, inga ndadudzwe zina rokuti Christmas.”
Kachingezi kega kakabhuyiwa ndiMtape pachirongwa cheshe che 40 minutes ndiko kekuti, “I am a very humble person.” Peshepeshe vainzvenga kubhuye Chiyungu. He deliberately dodged any slight ‘temptation’ to speak English. He loves his Ndau.
And indeed the word is ‘humble’. Chief Siduna is a very humble radio presenter who has no iota of too much self in him . . . no air of useless grace around him. He is very simple and down-to-earth.
What impresses me most about Mtape, beyond the verve and boisterousness of radio is Christopher’s open seriousness about church. He goes to the United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe assembly. He proudly wears the volunteer’s jacket, which symbolises and signifies a critical stage of Christian maturity and commitment in this church. A lot of public figures, especially those who think and believe they are celebrities think going to church is backward. It is not fashionable. Church is not funky. It is not cool, they say. Some of them, I almost said most of them, openly mock Jesus and God and make silly tasteless jokes about Church and God in their cheap excitement on air or on television. In their philosophic schizophrenia they view serious Christians as thoughtless and naive fundamentalists. Too smart to be Christian! Too smart to speak Jesus, prayer and Church! Not so with Mtape Siduna. He loves his God and believes it is God who finds him here, there and everywhere at any given time in life, including at Diamond FM. Guess what? Mtape came to the programme in his volunteer’s jacket . . . straight from church! How many ‘celebrities’ would do that? Big up Chriss! Big Up Mtape!
◆ Mtape Siduna is a proud holder of a diploma in Journalism and Communication obtained at the Christian College of Southern Africa and another in Systemic Family Counselling obtained at CONNECT (ZIST)-Zimbabwe Institute of Systemic Famoy Therapy.
He is currently enrolled with the Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Media Studies degree running concurrently with a Bachelor of Sciences in Development Studies degree at the Catholic University of Zimbabwe in Mutare. Siduna was born at Samhutsa in Chipinge and went to Samhutsa Primary School and Mutema High School before going to Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA)in Harare.
He is happily married to Faith Siduna (nee) Thom and the two are blessed with 2 children; Edith (Grade 5) and little Prince. Do not miss your copy of The Manica Post next Friday. Watch this space! I will bring you another story about another bubbly Diamond FM presenter. Enjoy!