Simon “Chopper” Chimbetu, born on September 23, 1955 was a famous Zimbabwean Museve artist. He commenced his career by playing music in the hotels in the late 1970s where later he was picked up for recording.
He formed a band in collaboration with his younger sibling Naison. Both siblings played as Marxist brothers because of the prevailing political ideology which had also shaped Chimbetu’s war experiences. ‘Dr Nero” and ‘Nherera’ were the most famous of their singles which gave them prominence on the Zimbabwean music front.
After giving many hits together the band split and Simon formed his own band under the name of The Orchestra Dendera Kings. His songs are characterized by his deep, booming bass guitar that can be heard from far away. From this time onwards, he gave hits that shot him to new heights of fame including all-time classics like ‘Kuipa chete’, ‘Ngoma yanditora moyo’, ‘Mwana wedangwe’, ‘Southern Africa’ and many others.
His journey meandered up and down as he was always a victim of controversies firstly when he was arrested and put in jail for 4 years for ‘buying a stolen property (car)’ and later when he was defamed due to his stance on the land reform policies. As his songs were greatly politicized, this stance was thought to be the rationale for his decline.
Many say his best ever album was ‘Survival’, released in 1997. One of Chimbetu’s discrete successes was being able to retrieve his top spot with the release of the album ‘Pachipamwe’ even after being jailed for such a long time. The song ‘Saina’ was a favorite of many at weddings and social gatherings.
Despite of his roller coaster ride like success and failure endeavors, people still remember him as the polite man. He was a lighthearted entertainer who died in 2005 at the age of 45.
Simon “Chopper” Chimbetu is featured on the museve station of Zimvibes Music Player.