Kupakwashe Kanyerere: Farewell to our Drummer, “Professor”

Harare – Before his death, Kupakwashe Shawn Kanyerere had a dream. Big dreams. 

His ambitions were limitless.

He desired to be a professor. To his mother, he was my “professor”. Academically, he was a genius. During his last term, he obtained 8A’s, scooping awards.

Derick Matsengarwodzi
“His ultimate dream was to become a professor. He was a generous, smart and humble character. He wanted to become successful in life and live his dream,” his sister, Kudzaiishe remembers.

He adored music, too.

Malvern Bandera, his uncle recollects: “He changed many lives, with a happy smile. He was a dreamer. He was exploring himself as a chanter and an MC.

“We are deeply hurt for losing a true future icon and legend. We were robbed of a great potential.”

But God had the final verdict.
Kupakwashe Shawn Kanyerere 

Rough diamond
The last time Kupakwashe displayed his drumming skills was his final day on earth.

After a stellar performance, he joined his friend Makatendekaishe for a swim. With Zvikomborero, that was their last walk for the trio, together.

Growing up, he observed his elder brother drumming. He was motivated, enchanted by the craft. But he could not express himself, yet. But when his chance came – it came by default.

It was during a conference hosted by Glory Ministries in 2014. The main drummer was absent. Kupakwashe stepped in. The shoes were too big – but he fitted with ease.

Journey begins
This was the beginning of an exciting musical voyage. Thereafter, he became a regular drummer – exhibiting unequaled ability for his juvenile age.

Band leader Darlington Nemutambwe rephrases the episode.

“I first knew Kupakwashe in 2011, when he was still in Mega Kids, when I wrote a song for them. Then, he was an aspiring singer. In 2014, we had no drummer for the band.
Kupakwashe on drums and Makatendekaishe o the Keyboard

“He insisted on playing. It took two only months to mentor him. And at one stage he wanted to quit, but I pushed him on.”

The little maestro’s exploits later took him on journeys across the country for crusades and conferences.

Fountain of joy
A third born in a family of four, he was a blessing to all.

Kupakwashe’s sister evokes of a sweat, outspoken and fair character, who never took sides – a characteristic supported by fellow band members.

To the church and band, he was a hero at only 15.

“He was our key drum player, very flexible and talented, with a great sense of humour and not afraid to speak out his mind. He was also grooming other drummers.

“Our team lost great heroes, we will greatly miss them,” emphasised Glory Ministries praise team leader, Pastor Rachel Nyakurwa.
The "Professor" and his Mother 

Till death, he oozed with humility – and much more.

“He was a marvel and a joy to the family – a hub of laughter, who fostered jubilation with his siblings. He was a fountain of humility, perseverance, kindness, obedience and hard work,” Bandera cited.

Team player
Within the praise and worship group, they had formed a mutual combination with his teammates.

Even before Apostle Pride Sibiya stepped on stage, the band already knew the tune to play. Wherever, he introduced a song, they responded in harmony.

Their performance was perfected, synchronized act, causing Apostle Sibiya to repeatedly say, “This is my best praise team, I don’t know about you.”

Kupakwashe’s apprenticeship at a young age was now yielding positive results.

Together with Darlington and crew, their ensemble Afrocentric churned conscious, evangelical beats. Their exquisite performances wowed listeners. A combination of traditional instruments and energetic dances showcased a rich Zimbabwean flavour.

The comedian
During the demanding task, Kupakwashe tossed some jokes to lighten the occasion, which Nemutambwe still cherishes with nostalgia.
Kupakwashe and Makatendekaishe were Bosom Buddies 

“He was a funny fellow, always joking. We called him our “engineer”, after a prophecy by Apostle Sibiya that, there will be professionals from the church.”

Gifted with a deep, amazing appreciation of music, his absence will echo for forever.

“He understood drumming patterns, directed percussions and dances – and he possessed a strong rhythmic sense. We will raise others not to replace them but to continue. We can’t go back, we will have failed them,” Nemutambwe spoke with a deep sense of loss.

Though death wiped Kupakwashe from us, his legacy spurs us on. Farewell our engineer. Goodbye professor Kupa.

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