When you speak the name Manhenga in the music industry, Dudu Manhenga always springs to mind. Zanele a.k.a. Uzah – Dudu’s sister – is another often recognised name. In contrast, Clive Manhenga – though playing major role in the industry – has not found his name on the lips of many. This is because his work, though crucial, is behind the scenes at the sound desk, making sure that the music is well balanced and perfectly audible. Clive has done sound mixing for various leading musicians including her sisters, Chikwata 263, Cde Fasto and Chabvondoka, Oliver Mtukudzi, Cynthia Mare, and Senegalise star Awadi (during HIFA). Harare News’ Kundai Marunya caught up with Clive Manhenga to find out more about his crucial work.
Who is Clive Manhenga?
I am a 27-year-old father of one beautiful girl Fisokuhle, married to my lovely wife Patience. I grew up in Bulawayo before moving to Harare in 2005 where I launched my career as a sound engineer.
Briefly describe what a sound engineer does?
A sound engineer sets up the public address system and makes sure the sound is well balanced and audible for both the band and the audience.
What else do you do besides sound engineering?
I am a music producer. I work with other producers Cornelius Muponda and Roy Zuka at our stable, Harmony Studios. We have recorded various well-known artists, including: Selmor Mtukudzi; Tendai Manatsa; Cynthia Mare; Alexio Kawara; Colour Blue; and many other upcoming musicians.
How did you get into music?
I grew up around music. It runs in our family. Two of my sisters, Dudu and Zanele are well-known musicians, and I have another sister who teaches music in South Africa. My call point was however a strong zeal to provide good sound for my sisters’ music.
Describe your journey to where you are today.
I started out around 2006. I didn’t have the privilege of going to study sound engineering. Most of what I know I had to learn from other people in the industry, supported by studyying online and experimenting at home. The first person who taught me the basic live set up was Blessing Mparutsa. Simba Magaisa taught me the technical side of things. From then I started learning from people like Philani Majama, Vusa Moyo, and Thami Bima, to mention a few.
The person who played a major role in my grooming was Diva Mwale of Divine Concert Sound. I worked with him for a very long time, learning a lot in the process. In this in-dustry you learn a lot from interactions and working with different people, so you have to be willing to keep on learning.
Who inspires you?
I draw my inspiration from different people. In terms of the business side of things Diva (Mwale) does it for me. He has achieved a lot. In terms of being a sound engineer the list is endless. I like different things about different people though I would say Vusa Moyo has an amazing touch of brilliance.
What can you say has been your greatest achievement thus far?
I haven’t achieved my greatest expectations yet but I could say I have managed to work with the ‘big names’ in local music, touring various countries with different bands. When I manage to build a brand recognized world over, then I would say I have achieved my greatest goal.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Lack of equipment and a training ground when I was starting out.
What would you say is the biggest show/event you have worked on?
Having toured various countries including South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia, Mozambique and working on many stages it’s hard to say which was the biggest. In terms of music stages I would say the World Social Forum in Senegal was a big event. I’ve also done sound at HIFA and Shoko Festival.
In terms on non-musical events I would say the inauguration ceremony of President Mugabe at HICC was a big event. I was also part of the sound team at his daughter’s wedding.
Can you compare local and international venue sound?
Most international events have high quality sound systems and are well-resourced compared to our local venues. Given the same equipment, Zimbabweans are highly competitive.
Which venue has the best sound in Harare and has the worst?
Sound depends on the type of equipment present and most venues hire different sound systems so it’s hard to say which one has the best or worst. Today they may have good equipment and tomorrow hire something not so good.
Any last words to aspiring sound engineers?
Keep reading because you can never say you know everything. Ours is an evolving industry with new equipment being invented everyday, so always be ready for new ideas and new knowledge.