MUSICIAN Jeys Marabini, who has been struggling with health issues over the last few months, says he feels a new lease of life after he was invited to a one-on-one meeting with President Mnangagwa at the State House in Bulawayo recently.
Marabini has been struggling with haemorrhoids for the best part of the last decade, while a recent scan also revealed that he had an inflamed spleen. While Marabini has over the years managed to play through the pain and fulfil his artistic obligations despite deteriorating health, he recently had to put down his guitar as he was no longer able to perform because of the increasing pain and discomfort.
However, following an unexpected invitation to meet the President on 9 July, Marabini, born Majahawodwa Ndlovu, told Sunday News he felt rejuvenated and after receiving further treatment, was eager to regain his full health.
Marabini said the visit seemingly came out of the blue and was an honour that he would always treasure.
“We were taken by surprise at 11AM when kids came running into the house (Nkulumane in Bulawayo) to tell us that there were big cars outside and they were looking for me. I told them to let them in. The visitors came in and told me that they would come back at 4PM to collect me because I had to meet the President.
I was really treated well and even at State House the hospitality was great. I didn’t even know how beautiful the State House is because I had never been inside. I was just surprised by the humbleness of the President and his concern for me. He did not have to host me, but he did. It made me feel that as a musician, I have an impact in his life and that of others,” he said.
Marabini also said he was chuffed by the level of concern that the country’s Head of State showed for his health, with President Mnangagwa also pledging to help him with his ballooning medical bills.
“When I got to the State House, there were a lot of important people there to see the President and I had to wait before it was my turn. When I got there, to my shock, the President was very relaxed and he beckoned me to come in. He called me to sit by his side and he immediately expressed concern about my health. He said he had heard that I was not feeling well. I said that I had not been feeling well for a while and even though I performed in some gigs, in most cases it’s just me playing through the pain because as a man I have to be strong,” he said.
Marabini, the afro jazz musician who hails from Filabusi in Matabeleland South, who has also ventured into reggae, said as he was unable to perform regularly anymore, his finances had been hard hit by the high costs of regular treatment. After spending two years on the sidelines due to Covid-19 containment measures, Marabini, however, said he was eager to get back on his feet without necessarily resorting to a begging bowl.
“Even during the Independence gala, I performed because it was a national duty. I suffer from piles and they say my body produces too much acid. But my latest ultrasound scan, which I showed the President, revealed that I have an inflamed spleen but there is still need for more tests. So, the President expressed his concern and asked how I was sustaining myself given my current situation.
“I told him that I was now struggling because since 2012, all my savings had been going towards my medical bills. I told him I was quiet about my situation because I didn’t want to go around with a begging bowl but now, I am really struggling because the bills are piling up. I told him of my bills and he said he would help where he can. I told him that I have my own place at Montgomery and I needed a borehole so that I could farm and sustain myself because I don’t want to be begging for help. He said he would also do his best to assist me with that and other items,” he said.
Marabini said he was flattered by the concern that the President had shown in him and his general interest in the country’s arts sector.
“It was humbling to hear that the country’s number one citizen is concerned about my health and not only that, is concerned about the well-being of artistes in Zimbabwe and does not want to inquire about us when we are on drip on our deathbeds. He was really pained by (the late) Clive Chigubu’s situation because he said he wants us to have a stable life.
“I was really encouraged with the help that he pledged for my medical expenses. He was full of encouragement about my contribution to the music industry and he considers us, artistes, people that heal the nation through our music,” he said.
Deputy Chief Secretary —Presidential Communications in the Office of the President and Cabinet, who is also Presidential spokesperson, Mr George Charamba said that the visit was a fulfilment of a promise that the President had made to Marabini during an indaba with Bulawayo artistes in 2019.
“This is not the first time that the President has come across Jeys and his guitar. He saw him for the first time at Rainbow (hotel) where he had an indaba with Bulawayo artistes. “On that occasion, he expressed his desire to host Marabini at the State House so I think this particular meeting was the fulfilment of that wish. It is a wish that the President harbours for all artistes in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Mr Charamba said Marabini’s visit was only the tip of the iceberg, as the President was working on a comprehensive strategy to capacitate the arts sector.
“It is a belief of the Second Republic that the arts play a big role in the development of Zimbabwean society and more importantly, it recognises that the arts are an important source of livelihood for practitioners in the sector.
“What has been lacking are the instruments so make sure that artistes satisfy their creative urge and to do so gainfully. That is what the President is now working on together with the line minister,” he said. – SundayNews