Poet, Musician, Actor, Educationist
Well known throughout Zimbabwe and the world for his stunning fusions of music and verse, Albert Nyathi was born in Kafusi, Gwanda, on the 15th of November 1962 into a cattle-herding community where he mastered traditional praise poetry at a tender age
From very humble beginnings, a combination of natural talent and the skills acquired from Mpumelelo primary school,
Msiteli Secondary School in Bulawayo, Matopo High School in Matabeleland South and the University of Zimbabwe where he graduated with a BA Hons (English Lit.) University of Zimbabwe in 1991 has seen Albert Nyathi grow into a household name at home and abroad. As a university student in the 1980s, he became very influential within the student union and often spoke at rallies. Most of his plays and poems were inspired by the national freedom struggle in particular but generally the very human struggles for freedom in the region influenced his poetry and his desire to bring change through the power of oration. Thus around 1990, he started fusing his poetry with music in order to reach out to a wider audience
His first major stage performance as an actor was in the outstanding production of Mandela- the Spirit of No Surrender in the early 1990s produced by the community theatre company Zambuko/ Izibuko and the ANC as a co-production about a family's struggle in the townships through the period of Mandela's incarceration.
Nyathi, performs in both English and Ndebele, is equally popular at home and in the West, though arguably for quite different reasons. Certainly he has persuaded people to sit up, listen and take command of their situation. Through the power and beauty of his poems and songs, Albert gave a voice to the suffering from the dehumanization in the world around him. In 1994 he won the poet of the year award and that same year he released his first album, Kuze Kube Nini which features the popular hit Senzenina. Albert could have started recording a long time back but he wanted to complete his studies first. After completion he embarked on a rather academic career which saw him raising to the position the Acting Director of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe. He however in 1997 had to leave this lucrative career path to pursue music and poetry and the subsequent tours.
That same year 1997, Albert established Imbongi Arts, an informal arts education institution which merely two years latter was selected by unanimous decision of the International Steering Committee meeting in Buntingford, England to be the cultural performance group from the continent of Africa for the congress. The congress commended their extraordinary talent and exceptional energy as performers and indeed Albert went on to provide every congress delegate with a vital reminder of the vibrancy of African Culture. Since then Albert never looked back. He has lifted the country’s flag high into nations such as Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Hawaii (USA), England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique, Sicily (Italy) to name just but a few.
He has also been involved in numerous educational programmes at home and abroad. In 2005 Albert was invited by the Chelsea Football Club in collaboration with, the FA (Football Association of England), Kick It Out Magazine and the Westminster Library and Archives, to work with children of all races on poetry against racism in football. Then following the success of the 2009 educational programme at Winchmore Secondary school, Nyathi was once again invited by the same school but this time with a number of primary schools and secondary schools in London`s Enfield Town for programmes such as the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms. Nyathi was appointed the British Council Climate Icon by the British Council in Zimbabwe, a programme that saw him working with numerous schools in Zimbabwe, creating poetry.
The year 2010 alone also saw Mr Albert Nyathi being appointed the British Council Climate Icon, the publishing of his first book - a collection of poetry titled Echoes from Zimbabwe, being elected Zimbabwe Music Rights Association Board of Directors Chairman and being invited to perform for the heads of state and Governments in Windhoek, Namibia and consequently scooping the National Arts Merit Award, Arts Personality of the year, Zimbabwe`s highest award meant to confirm and honor an artist`s ambassadorial status.
Well known for his widely known anthems, Senzeni Na and My Daughter, and musical albums such as Ngenkani? 1999 and Welcome to Zimbabwe, 2000 Albert Nyathi`s contribution to the arts industry through various arty ways such as the performance of music, poetry, film and the various educational programmes as well as his involvement in numerous community development programmes and arts festivals such as the Great Family Indaba Festival, Jikinya Dance Festival and the Harare International Festival of the Arts and his involvement in numerous projects and programmes like nurturing talent through which quite a number of now renowned artists came through such as Mateo, Prudence Katomeni Mbofana, Charles Chipanga, Tabeth, Balt and Bert, Marian Kunonga, Sandra Ndebele, Ibongi Jazz and the 2009 Oscar Award winning Prudence Mabhena, Albert Nyathi`s work in Zimbabwe`s arts industry is unmatched to none. . He has performed for one of the greatest African icons, Nelson Mandela on his visit to Zimbabwe. He has led the funeral procession of yet another great African statesman, Joshua Nkomo.