Dino Mudondo's get rich quick fish saga
Listening to Dino Mudondo talk about his relationship with erstwhile girlfriend Cecilia Dapeta feels like watching a West African horror movie.
In the last nine months, Mudondo has changed residence seven times, become destitute, swallowed a live fish, been beaten and left for dead, boarded planes like he now does kombis, been to traditional healers and prophets alike all this in the name of love.
However, the pint-sized musician insists that every word of the story that you are going to read is true, although he wishes he could “wake up from the bad dream” and start living his life again.
His has been a “nightmare” which he says started in late January this year while he was performing at a club in Eastlea, Harare.
“I was on stage when the manager of the club came to me and informed me that there were two ladies who wanted to see me, either during the break or after the performance. Intrigued, I agreed to see them during the break during which I learnt it was Cecilia and her sister Patience.
“They offered me drinks but I couldn’t accept the offer as I still had a few more hours to perform. The offer was to come again in the early hours of the morning just after the show and we had drinks for about an hour during which she told me she was a big fan and wanted to help my band, as a manager,” narrated Mudondo.
He says the night turned out to be a drinking spree during which they danced to some music and in between dances spoke about business. Mudondo’s “new manager” offered him a truck, PA system and a luxury car, and the musician took it as a “blessing” and was “prepared to take it with an open heart”.
During that first night Mudondo was given the go-ahead to take the car to his house, only after dropping the sisters home in Belvedere.The following day was to prove to be even more “interesting” as Mudondo received a call from Cecilia who wanted to go “somewhere quickly”.
The “somewhere” turned out to be South Africa and Cecilia just wanted to be driven to the airport. At the airport, the musician was told that he could keep the car for a few days while Cecilia was away.
Mudondo was later to discover through correspondence that the beauty had left some cash for him in the car “for his convenience” while she was away and through the same medium, “her text messages started having words like ‘sweetie’ and phrases like ‘I love you’, but I just brushed it aside as nothing”.
True to her word, Cecilia returned from her trip just after a few days and with her she brought a bag of tricks, which were to get the musician into bed with her and becoming the band manager in the process.
“I went to fetch her from the airport where we hugged and kissed, while she confessed her love for me and how much she had missed me. She had two huge suitcases with her and almost everything in those bags was for me.
“These came in the form of designer clothes, shoes, toiletries and groceries. Instead of going to her house she asked if she could come to my flat and I immediately said yes. At the flat the bags were opened, I was thrilled, but that was not all. She was to make a bubble bath, took a bottle of wine and two glasses to the bathroom, which is where we ‘first made contact’.”
Mudondo says he had his own girlfriend then, but was prepared to ditch her for the “new management”, which was “too hot for him to resist”.But trouble came just after a month of courtship. Mudondo was to learn that his new-found “true love” was a trouble-causer who had previously dated another musician, Progress Chipfumo.
“I got so mad when I heard about the Progress issue so I confronted her and she denied everything, but the truth was to come into the open later. When that story threatened to destroy the relationship, I was asked to accompany her to SA where she bought me a PA system, to which I contributed US$1 000 plus free entry into the country.”
The PA system was to become a tool to whip Mudondo into line whenever he seemed to be “going astray”.
“Soon after we returned from SA with the sound system, she started using it to blackmail me. First into moving in with her at her Belvedere home and later into dropping another ex-boyfriend issue, this time involving Allan Chimbetu.
“She started controlling my every aspect of life. I lost friends, relatives and even some business associates while we were still dating. I was blind to all this as she would shower me with gifts whenever I raised issues that could compromise the relationship.”
Mudondo was later to talk to a brother, who “woke me up” and he immediately moved out of the Belvedere house to Marlborough, a house “I had looked for myself”.
“When she followed me to Marlborough I thought I would be in control there now that I was in my house, but it was there that she secretly planned that wedding. And I also made the biggest mistake, that which would bring the relationship to this — she told journalists about our affair and the secret wedding plans.
“Once the affair was in the public domain things got out of hand. Stories of her having dated Allan and Progress found their way into newspapers, and friends and family came out with guns blazing. Everyone was against the marriage and my life became hell with my mother telling me I would only marry her ‘over her dead body’.”
With the Mudondo family totally against the marriage and friends doing their best to discourage the “unholy matrimony” the love birds opted for a “muchato wemweya” (spiritual wedding) presided over by a prophet.
“I was dragged to Marirangwe to see a self-styled prophet, Madzimai Josi, who joined us in ‘holy matrimony’ by making us hold a pigeon each and told us that just like the pigeons that never leave each other, we would never leave each other’s side.
“Then we were told to go fishing and bring two small fish from the river. These we would later learn we had to feed and then swallow alive. This, according to Madzimai Josi, was to ensure that our riches multiply just like the countless eggs that fish lay.”
Marirangwe trips were to later become a weekly affair, as the two were required to visit Madzimai Josi every Tuesday. According to Mudondo these trips gave birth to more rituals, some of which had to be carried out while stark naked while sometimes they had to pray with stones in their hands which they had to throw in every direction.
“Then, I was ‘truly in love’ with Cecilia, whether it was Madzimai’s prayers or just love I don’t know, but I had gone in too deep and I felt like there was no other way. But Cecilia’s biggest problem is (or was) that when she gets drunk she becomes violent.
“In one incident she bashed my friend Willom Tight and the other time she fought with girls from Mambokadzi. This other time my friend Jerry and I had to flee from her car while coming from a gig after she had started getting violent.”
As the musician had “gone in too deep in love” and wanted the best out of their relationship, he approached Madzimai Josi to attend to Cecilia’s violent nature, but this did not work and they even approached a Tynwald-based traditional healer who also failed to handle the matter.The violence did not stop, though. Mudondo was humiliated at a Rainbow Towers show in front of other artistes by the queen of his heart.Cecilia even got fired from her job and the huge amounts of money stopped coming in, but the loverboy continued fighting for his “marriage”.
Don’t miss next week’s second episode, in which the violence in the relationship continued, the court case and subsequent community service.