Leonard Tazvivinga Dembo, also Musoro We Nyoka (born Kwangwari Gwaindepi; 6 February 1959 in Chivi, Masvingo province of Zimbabwe – 9 April 1996), was a Zimbabwean musician whose band, the Barura Express, became popular in Zimbabwe during the 1990s.
Early life and education
He was born on the 6th of February 1959 in Chivi, Masvingo province of Zimbabwe. His ancestral origins of his Karanga tribe, which is the largest tribe in Zimbabwe, is Masvingo — Any day one visits the local stores in the province, one will only hear Leonard Dembo's music being played. His real name was Kwangwari Gwaindepi The early childhood of Leonard Dembo is not fully documented. From his relatives, one believes that Dembo grew up without a father, an experience he later on reflected in his song writing, particularly in such songs as "Nhamo Moto" and "Nhamo Iya Ndakura Nayo." He attended primary school initially in Buhera, and later in Bulawayo, and also at Chembira School, Harare. He did not attend secondary school: Upon completing primary school he returned to Bulawayo to look for work.The Engraving on Dembo's Tombstone
Dembo was interested in songs of love. In fact, most of his songs are particularly loved by youth; they find them relevant to their situations. He was known as the King of Sungura music, due to the skills he had as lead guitarist from the melodies he created match by his beautiful voice. The great mastery which he used to construct his music, and the level of album production he worked with, inspired the nickname "Musoro We Nyoka", which literally translates to "Head of a snake". It refers to the slyness, willy attitude and intelligence of a snake, which the musician demonstrated. The poetic lyrics of his songs are cleverly crafted full of deep-rooted meanings: Today he is arguably still unmatched by any artist to come out of Zimbabwe.
At various times, Dembo also addressed social ills of his times in his music, especially the suffering of the orphans and young children. Although Dembo lived through the tumultuous years of Zimbabwean liberation struggle, he never seemed to be very much interested in the political affairs of his day. However, he sang a few tunes such as "Kana Ndorangarira" found on his 1987 album, Kuziva Mbuya Huudzwa which immediately found itself a hit on all the radio stations in the country. He alluded to the struggle in such songs as "Matsotsi" (when he said that now that people were free, those who used to thrive in pickpocketing were to be punished).
Dembo is still a legend in Zimbabwe: His songs still continue to sell widely and budding musicians find inspiration from his hits. By 2008, despite other great hits on the market, no song had surpassed the popularity of "Chitekete" released seventeen years ago.