Chimurenga Music maestro Thomas Mapfumo, affectionately known as Mukanya by his legion of fans, has revealed that he is returning to his base in the United States “penniless” after he was swindled by a music promoter identified as Max Mugaba.

According to Mukanya, Mugaba cheated him of all the money that he was supposed to receive from the takings of his many shows. He also added that contrary to their agreement, Mugaba failed to pay for his group’s return tickets to the United States. Mugaba is also the one who failed to pay rent for the Glen Lorne house where Mukanya was staying which resulted in him getting evicted.

Revealing his ordeal in an interview with the local publication, H-Metro, Mukanya said

When we came back home for this tour, we thought everything was in place. Our manager Austin Sibanda and Max Mugaba entered into an agreement where we were supposed to get 70 percent of the proceeds after sharing the costs with Max getting the remainder. I sensed that something was wrong when we arrived in Zimbabwe after we learnt that our return air tickets had been cancelled since Max owed the travel agent some money. When we asked him, he said everything would be rectified and we decided to continue with the tour

Speaking on how he was swindled at various shows, Mukanya said

At the Large City Hall show in Bulawayo, the attendance wasn’t that bad, but that’s when Max began to act funny…After the show, Max and our own (Blessing) Vava did not give us a breakdown of what we realised and we did not get even a cent from that show…Mugaba pulled the same trick after the Beitbridge show and I suspected he connived with Vava. They did not give us a breakdown of the gate-takings and that’s when I realised that something was fishy.

After a show held at Club Hide-Out in Lochinvar

As had become the norm, Max and Vava played the same trick and disappeared with the money. The show was well attended and we really made a killing on that day. Max started acting funny again as he could not give us a breakdown of the money. We even contacted the EcoCash people who advised that Max owed them a fortune.

Mapfumo said that as soon as he is settled back in the States he is going to take legal action against Mugaba. He also said he had cut ties with Vava as he had shown his true colours.

It’s unfair to be duped by one of your own and I will take legal action against him. I pray that the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe de-register such kind of promoters. Honestly, with people like Max, we are doomed and going nowhere. It’s sad when one black man is exploiting another black man.

Mukanya is returning to his base in Oregon on Monday.