Paul ‘Dr Love’ Matavire
Born Paul Matavire but also affectionally known as Dr. Love, Matavire was born on the 3rd of August 1961 in Maranda, Mwenezi District, Masvingo Province. Matavire attended Copota School of the Blind in the Masvingo.
Paul Matavire was a blind Zimbabwean musician and songwriter. He rose to prominence in the 1980s when he joined the Jairos Jiri Band based in Bulawayo at the Jairos Jiri Rehabilitation Centre where he was training as a social worker. Joining the JJB he quickly established a name for himself and was soon elected to lead the Jairo Jiri Band, as one of Zimbabwe's finest musicians to emerge after the country gained independence.
The Jairos Jiri band are representatives of Jairos Jiri, the Disabled Musicians Society. They were led by Matavire, who was a training social worker at the time, and had been left blind at the age of six by glaucoma. While his deep lyrics garnered him the nickname of Dr. Love, his songs were also known for their social commentary. In 1982, Matavire abandoned his social worker training with Jairos Jiri an association for the disabled, to join a musical band full time in Bulawayo after he had taught himself to play drums and the guitar. His debut song was in honour of the founder of the organisation, Jairos Jiri titled "Pamberi NavaJiri". It did not take long for Matavire to establish himself as the Clarence Carter of Zimbabwe with his rich poetic lyrics which in languages such as Shona, Ndebele, Venda and English. Matavire’s lyrics described situations so vividly that most of his fans who had not met him could not believe that he was visually impaired and this was because he gave vivid real-life experiences in his songs.
Paul Matavire was a celebrated sungura musician who rose to fame through his songs such as "Kisimusi Yatosvika", "Nhamo Yousavi", "Tanga Wandida" and "MaU". Dr Love, as he was affectionately known by his loyal fans had a unique genre of music which often came enticed with long phrases of rich poetry. Matavire was given the name Dr Love by his fans for his passion for the subject of love in his music which made his fans think that he was an expert in the field. Besides the subject of love in his music which composed the bigger chunk of his songs, Matavire was a great social commentator, motivator, teacher and entertainer.
Matavire's music gained popularity due to his humor, the use of rich and deep Shona lyrics, and his willingness to tread on what many regarded sensitive societal issues. His songs touched on anything from religion to marital issues, but still retaining the humor that made it ever so popular. His hit song "Dhiyabhorosi Nyoka" stirred controversy at its release by its reference to the biblical Eve, and women in general, as the root cause of every man's troubles, while at the same time acknowledging the pivotal role women play in society. Matavire's music has remained popular even among the young in Zimbabwe years after his death. He is also remembered for his willingness to experiment with the Shona language in his songs, coining phrases that have remained part of everyday conversation among the Shona-speaking people in the country.
Just like his music however, Matavire had his own fair share of controversies one of them seeing him serving a one-year sentence after he was accused of rape and found guilty in the early 1990s. Prior to these allegations, Matavire with his entourage of 27 musicians had travelled to Europe in 1989 where they were reported to have had very successful shows. A proposed 1990 European tour was cancelled due to the court case, but Matavire continued with concerts within Zimbabwe including being a supporting act for international artists.
The Jairos Jiri Band’s success was interrupted by Matavire's one-year incarceration. The band commemorated his 1991 release with the song Back from College which narrated his experiences in jail. The band, composed of various musicians under Matavire's leadership released 13 albums, the latest being 2003's Zimbe Remoto.
Matavire left JJB after his return from prison to form his own group, The Hit Machine with which he released a series of masterpieces; Akanaka Akarara (1993), Gakanje (1995) and Fadza Customer (1998). The other two albums, Zimbe Remoto and Gonye Remari were done with the help of Freddy Gwala.
Matavire had 13 albums to his name by the time of his passing:
• Ukwendiswa) (with Jairos Jiri Band, 1985 LP)
• J.J.B. Style (with Jairos Jiri Band, 1986 LP)
• Amatshakada (with Jairos Jiri Band, 1988 LP)
• Ethno-Rock Zimbabwe (live album of 1988 concert in Stuttgart,
Germany with Jairos Jiri Band, 1989 LP)
• Matavire Mbune (with Jairos Jiri Band, 1989 LP)
• Doctor Love, Volume 2 (1990 LP)
• Back from College (1991 LP)
• Dhindindi Fulltime (Reissue of Doctor Love Volume 2, 1992 LP)
• Akanaka Akarara (with the Hit Machine, 1993 LP)
• Gakanje (with the Hit Machine, 1995 LP)
• Mapanga Muhomwe (with the Hit Machine, 1995 LP)
• Asipo Haapo (with the Hit Machine, 1996 CASS)
• Fadza Customer (with the Hit Machine, 1998 CASS)
• Govanai (1999 CASS)
• Zimbe Remoto (2003 CD)
• Gonye Remari (2004, CD)
• Paul Matavire, Vol. 3 (2005, CD)
Matavire was also known for leading a simple life. At the time of his death he was believed to have been the owner of a farm in Rutenga where he moved to after 2000, and this farm he was awarded it by the government and he had a large herd of cattle, goats and many farm animals and he spent the last days tending to his farm.
Sadly Paul ‘Dr Love’ Matavire passed away on the 18th of October 2005 aged 44 in Rutenga, Mwenezi District.
Even though he left us still in his prime, his music lives on with us and there can only ever be one Dr Love!
Credit: Pindula News, Wikipedia and The Herald Newspaper.
Photo credit: us.napster.com, Facebook.com and discogs.com.
Video credit: Youtube - levels muchero