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A DAY WITH TEHN DIAMOND

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“AS LONG AS I’M CARRYING A HEALTHY BAG OF THOUGHTS WITH ME THIS WHOLE EARTH IS A PRETTY GOOD CREATIVE SPACE”

“EVERY SINGLE YEAR THAT HASN’T BEEN THOSE THREE YEARS. I REALLY ENJOY LIFE AND WAKING UP EVERY DAY, MORE SO NOW THAT I HAVE MY LIFE’S WORK AND PURPOSE FIRMLY IN MY SIGHTS. I’VE REALLY APPRECIATED LIFE, THE HIGHS AND THE LOWS.”

TEHN RELEASED HIS DEBUT ALBUM “A FEW GOOD POEMS” IN JANUARY 2017, AND FEATURES ARTISTS M.ANIFEST FROM GHANA AND FELLOW ZIMBABWEAN AMMARA BROWN, AMONG MANY OTHERS. IT’S BEING DISTRIBUTED BY DIGITAL MUSIC SERVICE PROVIDER, AFRICORI, WHICH HAS ACCESS TO A NETWORK OF 650 DIGITAL RETAILERS, MOBILE OUTLETS AND SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES WORLDWIDE.

Water, meditation, yoga and a nice cold bath are Tehn Diamond’s remedies for the perfect start to a perfect day in Harare.

“The sunshine city is at her best when the sun is shining. Even on a rainy day the sun manages to shine on us. I’m very big on simplicity so if I can get in my morning routine and achieve my one important task of the day it’s a win,” he reveals.

When you think ‘sunshine,’ the colour yellow usually springs to mind and Tendai says he loves the colour yellow on black skin, adding that if he had to it to someone who was blind he’s cut up a pineapple into cubes, drizzle some honey on it and make them taste it.

As an avid reader, his current morning routine includes reading ‘The 48 Laws of Power,’ ‘The 50th Law,’ ‘Start with Why,’ and ‘Leaders Eat Last.’

Tendai Nguni, better known by his stage name Tehn Diamond or Tehn is a Zimbabwean hip-hop rapper, singer and song writer from Harare, Zimbabwe. He is also a member of the hip-hop collective Few Kings with artists Jnr Brown and producer Take Fizzo, which has won a number of awards, with their hits Happy, Summer and Realness.

Nkwazi Magazine recently caught up with him to gain first hand insight into his Harare.

Tendai describes Chez Zandi, along Herbert Chitepo Road at Alliance Francaise, as his favourite place to hang out. He discloses that Chez Zandi resonates with the kind of passion he puts into his own work.

Tendai values quality time with his friends and family and enjoys taking Sundays out to be around his people at places such as Meyrick or anywhere he can have a braai and good time.

His fondest memory of growing up in Harare is stargazing.

“As a kid after school I’d come home, (I’d always have extra curricular activities; sports and what not) I’d be laying outside for an hour staring at the moon and stars. I only realised after travelling that in a lot of places you don’t get to see that stars and that gave me a better appreciation of them.”

He defines himself as an introvert. Though many people seem to be taken aback by this because he’s a performer. He is an intuitive individual who finds any quiet spot a perfect catalyst for his creativity.

“As long as I’m carrying a healthy bag of thoughts with me, this whole earth is a pretty good creative space. I love being in the sun, the winter sunshine is perfect. Give me sunshine and solitude,” he says.

His musical journey in Zimbabwe had been a great learning experience.

“I always tell people I feel like my career hasn’t yet started. I feel like I’ve spent the last ten years experimenting and really trying to find myself. I’m very much about self-development and personal growth and I think that’s something that comes out in my music. I always try to use my music to document and journal my life and my emotions. Probably the weirdest thing about me is that I feel everything and I’m not afraid to express them feels,” Tehn discloses.

Tehn Diamond’s career was kick started with the Student of the Game — Higher Learning mixtape in 2008, followed by Student of the Game — Boys will be Boys in 2010. These projects received a good reception and won him a National Arts Merits Award accolade for Outstanding Music Video in 2012 for his first album single, Grown Up Kid.

“Given a chance, I would tell my 18 year old self to just jump off the cliff , to just take the plunge, because it’s not as scary as it seems. I never thought I’d be an artist. I always thought I’d be a song writer, so this all feels like bonus rounds, especially as my first love was acting growing up,” he says.

Tendai strives daily to make his fans happy.

“I try to make it about my fan base, who are my family. I take the time to engage. We know each other and have grown together. That’s why I love social media. My core values are to love everyday, to connect everyday and to learn everyday. We live in a time where we can make one on one connections with the people who lend our dreams wings, and who somehow find ways in what we do to give their own dreams wings too, at least I hope so. I pray every day to be of use.”

“By nature I’m a writer, so I enjoy Twitter. I like figuring out how to structure a tweet in a way that’s going to be meaningful. I also love Instagram, as a performer and an actor I love waking up there to be the best version of myself,” Tehn expresses.

He articulates that creatives have the responsibility to tell their stories and the things that impact and affect them in the most unique and authentic ways possible.

“One thing we can do is shed fear. I went through a period where I was afraid to speak my heart; be it on politics, love, life and it showed in my work. My personal mission is to become one of the most prolific artists that Africa has ever seen, but my creative output is currently on hold as I try to commit to my mandate of being the president of the Creative Nation of Zimbabwe. I want the creative economy to be thriving and exporting the incredible talent that we have here,” Tendai says.

He states that the Creative Nation of Zimbabwe, is the collective spirit that has been held back and stifled for so long.

“As of this year I decided that it’s time for us to take control of our own destiny. It’s election season over here so of course it’s the bread and butter issues that matter and as always we’ve sung and danced and supported these issues but nothing really changes and it might be selfish to just think of the creatives but someone has to.

When the time comes at least we’ll be in position and strong enough to contribute and throw our weight behind the things that matter the most. So our mission and vision as a creative nation is to nourish the soul of Africa by first enriching the Zimbabwean creatives. My hope is over the next 30 years to build a pan-African tribe in the sky of 1 billion young Africans passionate about celebrating, discovering and rewarding our cultural richness and our heritage through our company Tisu Ngoda Dzacho (TND).”

Tehn reveals that he’s proud of his personal development, stating that his favourite thing about himself is his mind.

“I love the way it works. I enjoy making it work. I live in there. That’s soul, my heart, my home. I’m very proud of the person I’m becoming and where I am right now. That’s something that’s always been of interest to me; introspection, life long learning and constantly trying to be a better person. I’m most proud of my growth over the last two years or so.”

Despite describing the hardest years of his life as 1994 (when his parents divorced), 2014 (when he came the closest to quitting music) and 2016, when he parted ways with his fiancée, Tendai continues to have cheery disposition.

“EVERY SINGLE YEAR THAT HASN’T BEEN THOSE THREE YEARS. I REALLY ENJOY LIFE AND WAKING UP EVERY DAY, MORE SO NOW THAT I HAVE MY LIFE’S WORK AND PURPOSE FIRMLY IN MY SIGHTS. I’VE REALLY APPRECIATED LIFE, THE HIGHS AND THE LOWS.”

He adds that he has no idea if the grass is greener on the other side as he’s too focused on the grass on his side, and working on focusing on the things that matter, including the Creative Nation.

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