Edith WeUtonga

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By Elizabeth D.T. Taderera

Born Edith Katiji on the 22nd of April 1979 in Kadoma, she is a Zimbabwean Afro-Jazz and traditional musician who mainly plays the bass guitar. Also known as Mama Bass, she is a singer-songwriter, an actor as well as a music teacher. Edith performs in 4 different languages: Shona, Chichewa, Ndebele and English. She is the lead vocalist for her band called Utonga which means dawn. She is also gifted in playing acoustic guitar, mbira and drums.

She studied music at the Army School of Music at the Brady Barracks in Bulawayo, where she began as a vocalist with the Army Band. She later moved to Amakhosi Township Square Cultural Centre and joined the 6-month crash course for musical instruments. She was in an all-female band called Amakhosikazi (which translates to Queens) where she started as a composer and lead vocalist. She discovered the love of the bass guitar while in that band before it disbanded in 2006.

She formed a new band and named it So What!? This group relocated to Harare and performed at the famous Book Café and Mannenberg, The Kraal, Jazz 105, and the Sports Diner until breaking up in 2008 after Edith was involved in a serious car accident. Edith was elected chairperson of the Zimbabwe Musicians Union (ZIMU) in 2017. She has an Honors Degree in Music Business, Musicology and Technology attained at the Midlands State University in 2019.

Her work is signed under the Family Affair Production label, with albums such as “Utonga” (2010), Kwacha (2013) and Madalitso (2018). She has collaborated with Outspoken on 2014’s “Agodoka (The Remix)” and then with Claire Nyakujara on 2014’s “Ndaposha” under POVOAfrika and Family Affair Productions. Edith was featured by Publish the Quest twice in “Never Again” and “Shine” and she had compilations on Zimbabwe Awake Vol 1 (Africa Awake CD series) and also SpeakSing+Vol 1 in 2014.

As an actress she was featured in productions like “Hello and Goodbye”, “Lyssistrata”, “Tomorrow’s People” while she was at Amakhosi. She has also featured in “Alone But Together” by Wonder Guchu and “Silent Words” by Tawanda Kanengoni. She was later introduced to the silver screen when she was given a leading role as Mai Shupi in the TV drama “Sinjalo” which she won an award for.

She is married to Zimbabwean filmmaker Elton Mjanana and they have two children.

Albums

Utonga (2010)
Kwacha (2013)
Madalitso (2018)

Singles

Ngizohamba (2003)

Awards

  • Named Outstanding Actress ( 2012 NAMA)
  • Nominated for Best Female Musician and Best Alternative Act ( 2014 Zimbabwe Music Awards)
  • Nominated for Outstanding Female Musician (2014 NAMA)
  • Won the women achievers award- Women in Arts ( 2018 women achievers awards)
  • Named Outstanding Alternative Music ( 2018 Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards)
  • Women in Arts (2018 Women Achieves Awards)
  • Outstanding Alternative Music (2018 Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards)