Leonard Zhakata's Biography
Leonard Zhakata is Zimbabwean musician who sings sungura. He was born on 10 February 1968 in Manicaland, Zimbabwe. Leonard Zhakata is the only boy in the family of seven. Karikoga is also a name which he is also known as in the music circles. The name was inspired by his troubled background and the loneliness he felt as a child. Leonard Zhakata attended Shiri Yedenga School in Glen Norah, Harare. After finishing high school Leonard Zhakata did an apprenticeship in fit and turning of which he managed to finish and qualify as an artisan fit and turner.
Leonard developed an interest in music as a child and would sneak with his peers in primary school to play music without his parents knowing. He composed his first song "Baba vaSamson" at the age of 13. However his music career would be put on hold to enable him to finish his education. He returned to music after finishing his fit and turner apprenticeship with a group, Maungwe Brothers, which was comprised of him and Thomas Makion- his cousin, in the early 1980s. They record two albums before pursuing solo careers.
After being turned away by recording companies, Leonard managed to record "Moyo Muti" in 1989, followed by an album "Yarira Mhere" in 1990. His popularity increased with "Tungidza Gwenya" and "Shungu Dzemoyo". He however rose to stardom in 1994 with his Zimbabwe Music Company (ZMC) backed mega album "Maruva Enyika" which included hit song "Mugove" which was the biggest song of 1994.
1994 saw his music stock rise and rise with his live performances backed by his band Zimbabwe All Stars Band being a marvel to watch.They were well choreographed and wore glittering outfits which fascinated their audience. The outfits were nicknamed kwasa kwasa outfits because of their resemblance to outfits put on by famous Zaira artists of the time. "Maruva Enyika" was followed by "Nzombe Huru", "Vagoni Vebasa" and other albums.
Leonard Zhakata regards his music as Zora music which stands for Zhakata Original Rythims Of Africa. He has released 19 albums to date.
Leonard Zhakata is known for his social commentary which focuses on the suffering of the people and also the abuse of power by people in high positions. Leonard is also known for dragging his words and also singing at a slow tempo.
In 1994, Leonard at the age of 26 he became the youngest Zimbabwean musician to sell 100 000 copies. "Maruva Enyika" has sold more than 120 000 copies to date making it one of the most successful Zimbabwean albums of all time.
Leonard joined prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa's United Families International Church as a pastor. Band members left him after the news. He now includes gospel songs includes gospel songs in his albums.
After years of releasing lukewarm albums, Leonard Zhakata has experienced resurgence in his music career in the past few years. In July 2016 it was announce that Leonard was going to release his highly anticipated album, "Mutunga Dzose" on the 08 July 2016 which would probably see him claiming the throne which he once occupied in the late 1990s. The album includes "Zvine Mwaka", "Moyo Wokutenda", "Wauya Neyi", "Mutunga Dzose", "Kuzvarwa Kwemutumwa", "Tsvimbo" and "Soulmate".