Safirio Madzikatire, better known by his nickname Mukadota, was a multi-disciplinary artist who was renowned for his unique brand of comedy and music. He got his nickname from his role as Mukadota on The Mukadota Family, a Shona TV drama which ran on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Television ZTV in the 1980s and early 1990s.
The Mukadota Family
The Mukadota Family is considered one of the best television shows to have been produced in Zimbabwe. The show aired hair the airwaves in 1982 and ended 1996 but not without leaving behind a legacy that still endures today.
The sitcom followed the daily life of the titular family, and touched on many relevant issues such as unemployment, poverty, polygamy, and betrayal. However, what made the show truly special was its ability to balance humour with sincerity. Through its relatable and often humorous storylines, the show captured the hearts of viewers across the country.
The show starred Madzikatire as the lead character, Mukadota, also known as Baba Rwizi. He was joined by Susan Chenjerai who played his wife Mai Rwizi, and Elizabeth Taderera – affectionately known as Katarina. The cast also included Absaiom Mangota (Baba VaPhineas), Cathrine Madzore (Machipisa), Juliet Masunda (Amai Phineas), Boniface Chinemo (Bonnie) and John Muyambo (Chibhodhoro).
Madzikatire’s performance was praised by critics, with many calling him one of the most talented actors of his generation. The show was notable for its strong female characters, a relative rarity on Zimbabwean television at the time. Although it has been over 20 years since the final episode aired, The Mukadota Family remains an iconic part of Zimbabwean pop culture that is fondly remembered by those old enough to remember.
Safirio Madzikatire’s Life and Career
Born on 2 April 1932, Safirio Madzikatire hailed from Tanda, Rusape. His real name was Xavier Madzikatire and the name Safirio was a corrupted version of Xavier. When he was still a pupil at Chitsere Primary School in Mbare, Madzikatire’s passion for art developed and grew. To develop his craft the young artist would later clique up with Kenneth & Lainah Mataka who nurtured his raw talent and taught Safirio how to sing and play the guitar.
After years of honing his skills, Safirio flew the nest to become a nomadic comedian and solo guitarist. His confidence and natural charisma soon made him a popular performer on the circuit. He travelled all over the country, bringing laughter and joy to audiences wherever he went. By 1953 when two BuIawayo-based Township jazz groups, Golden Rhythm Crooners and the Cool Four were touring the country, Safirio would mix with them as he blazed his own trail to stardom.
He made a name for himself among the country’s best through his polished acts when he added action to his repertoire. He would also enjoy a short stint with the Great Sounds before joining the Afro Jazz Fiesta band. In 1964, Susan Chenjerai joined the band after the two met in Mbare. The group went on to release a smash hit “Isaac Hauchandida Here” in 1967.
Mhuri YaVaMukadota (The Mukadota Family)
After the group disbanded in 1971, Madzikatire joined and later led the Delight band. This was when he founded the Sea Cottage Sisters that moved with the Ocean City Band and started a radio programme known as Mhuri YavaMakore. A disagreement between the producers led to a change of name to Mhuri YaVaMukadota in 1972.
And the rest is history.