Thursday, 27 October 2016

Amazing facts about Joyce Simeti noone ever knew

On April 16, 2012, spotting a neat African attire resonating with her bright smile, which revealed a set of pearly white teeth, Joice Simeti said she was going to sit for her A level examinations later that year.

Then, she was already an accomplished gospel musician, with a stable family life and comfortable lifestyle, but still felt a need to go back to school although she was now in her 30s.

Joice felt education was the missing link in her life. She registered for the exams at a Harare private college after securing a private tutor for three subjects — Divinity, Shona and Sociology.

“It’s true that I am set to write A level exams in November and I am not even ashamed of it. Education is the only missing thing in my life despite being a person living a comfortable life,” she said back then.

“If I pass the exams, I will then fulfil my dream of getting a degree at Women’s University in Africa.”
Amazing facts about Joyce Simeti noone ever knew
Joice, who died at 42, was a courageous and ambitious woman, determined to reach for the stars.

“Many people have been asking dubious questions like how I am going to feel when I write an exam in a class full of students old enough to be my children, but I know where I came from and where I am going,” she said.

Many years before that, Joice had led a turbulent life back in Mapombo village in the poverty-stricken Mutoko district in Mashonaland East Province, where her life had a very inauspicious beginning.

Fate, courtesy of the circumstances of her birth, had already written her off in early childhood. She was honest enough to admit that education was not valued in her family and her sister was married off at 15.

She too never had a chance to acquire an education. She ended up a Grade 7 drop out before coming to Harare in pursuit of the life that the backwaters of Mutoko would never have allowed her to reach for.

Due to circumstance, her dash for celebrity status was not instant. She had to start off right from the bottom of the rung as a housemaid.

“I never had a chance to go to school because I dropped out after completing Grade 7 at Mapombo Primary School in Mutoko,” she recalled during one of our conversations.

“I came to Harare where I became a maid in Unit K, Chitungwiza, at such a tender age. It was painful to see other kids going to school, but there was nothing I could do,” she said.

At times, Joice would sell frozen drinks (popularly known as Freezits) at a bus terminus to supplement her meagre income as a maid.

She would only be able to sit for her O Level examinations in 1998 after getting married and giving birth to her first child.

“I am challenged when I hear or talk to other women who are very educated,” she said back then. “I feel very low, while at the same time knowing that I’ve got the ability to do the same.”

Joice had a deep-seated love for fashion and beauty, becoming one of the best-dressed female musicians, who routinely re-configured her favourite hairstyle and its sub-styles.

The Kudza Baba naMai hitmaker always gave credit to her hairdresser, Nomatter Sibanda. Joice’s rare beauty, complimented by her elegant dressing, could also be attributed to the fact that she was a respected fashion designer.

Tragically, Joice’s life story has been cut short, succumbing the “October curse” that has become the bane of many a local musician such as Tongai Moyo (October 15, 2011), Khumbulani Magaya of Vabati VaJehovah (October 7, 2011), Mbira maestro Taku Mafika (October 12, 2011), James Chimombe (October 23, 1990), Admire Kasenga (October 17, 2004) and Paul Matavire (October 18, 2005).

Born in 1974, in Mutoko, Simeti started taking music seriously around 1999 when she did her first album Tose Takadanwa with Ngaavongwe Records. In 2002, she left her hair dressing career to take up music as a full time musician.

At the time of her death, Joice had released six albums — Tose Takadanwa, Haakusiye Haakurasi, Ndichamupa Mbiri, Makandinzwa and Anozvigonesesa and was back in the studio working on the seventh, Ndakabuda Pakaoma.

A holder of a Diploma in Theology from Christians Friends of United States, an American theology institution, Joice was still fresh from her maiden Australian tour at the time of her death. She had become a key member of the United Families International Church’s mass choir.
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