We are not prophets, never mind those of doom.
Yet when this publication last saw MC Villa and conducted what was most probably his last media interview, there seemed to be something in the air that said we would not meet MC Villa ever again-not in this life anyway.
And when it was reported that he had gone to take up a room in that ultimate villa, the one which someone said “in my father’s house there are many mansions”, there was hardly surprise that he had gone that way. The shock can never be overcome nor the grief, but the endgame was somewhat written somewhere in the last MC Villa interview. There was a smell of loneliness and impending death that hung on his skin. There was a folly hope that mingled with the words as they were pushed out of his breath.
He had spoken of how he loved Jah Prayzah and would challenge Jah Prayzah as soon as he was back to his very peak yet again — he wanted to get back into the studio and show Jah Prayzah what he was made of! And while Jah Prayzah may sometimes craft lyrics that make a nursery rhyme, or a bumblebee sound decipherable and make hieroglyphics make absolute sense with his “haga mukaka” or whatever it is he will be harping on about, even a dead person knows that the man of the moment can never have his crown threatened. Not at the moment anyway.
That MC Villa was saying that he would topple Jah Prayzah with so much conviction showed a man that was out of touch with reality and with all the kindness in the world, showed seriously questionable cerebral integrity at that time.
He cut out a sad figure. Much different from the Tendai Marukutira who had accosted me when I was a senior entertainment reporter with The Sunday Mail in 2005. Very different from the young fountain of hope that he had been when as Lifestyle Editor of Trends Magazine we had discussed his music and prospects along with his dreams hopes and aspirations.
And so when I made my last visit and The Saturday Herald Lifestyle had begged the world to “Spare a thought for MC Villa”, what we were actually saying was; if he should not make it in this life for much longer in his illness, which he was in denial about, at least his fans and friends should make sure that his last days are full of company, smiles, love and support.
That was hardly what happened. A handful of his friends were touched and gave him a shoulder and their time, calling him and showing him love, not least of all Cape Town-based Mad Fisher, a close friend of his. The majority just saw a sad story of another artiste who had perhaps mismanaged his life and fallen on hard times. The story always revolves around blaming artistes for not having invested — true. That may be an argument.
But what we all need when we approach the dying embers of what usually are our fiery burning lives, all we need is someone to show us love and ensure that our flame dies out with dignity and love. That is all MC Villa needed. Because someone may invest millions and die absolutely wealthy. Without love around you, without friends to hold your hand as you head towards the light, no amount of wealth can be comforting never mind mean anything.
MC Villa didn’t need sympathy or people to ogle at home; he needed his friends to remember him and donate to him not tins of corned meat and mealie-meal or money but a slightly more expensive currency called love. A currency which when we search for it deep inside ourselves is actually a currency very easy to donate. He hardly got that.
Fellow musician Muchoni and Mad Fisher as well as Hi Definition dancer Basil Chirengendure heeded the call. The rest read a story that said to them “we told you musicians never amount to anything”. “Unodzoka Here Tendai,” he had sung. And true he had returned from his foray into Mozambique. He just didn’t stay long enough to give us more joy when he did return. But the MC Villa who died last Sunday as others were hoarse from an exciting World Cup Final was not a musician who had died.
He was Tendai Marukutira, a young man who died at the age of 38. Alone. Sad. Abandoned by his industry friends. May we all die better deaths with more love than Villa. Because the nature of his death is one that you cannot wish even upon the devil. We all need love and affection.
And apart from musician we may remember MC Villa; Tendai Marukutira as another thing. A brother, father, son . . . friend.