HAVING failed to strike a rich vein in the pits of the music industry or find nirvana in the cellphone trade, surviving dendera “father”, Allan Chimbetu, has laid down the guitar for the mining jackhammer.

Fame earned during the days he backed his legendary brother Simon has not translated to fortune, a situation that has forced the talented lead guitarist and vocalist to diversify.

Allan is literally trying his hand at every venture that can help augment his income. Investigations by this publication following a subdued appearance on the showbiz scene led to revelations that the sole surviving godfather of dendera has joined a myriad of artisanal miners (makorokoza) operating in the Mashonaland Central area of Mazowe.

Indications suggest the musician is involved in every process of the gold extraction in the mineral rich province. Rather, colleagues say he has become a veteran of identifying “glory holes” also known in artisanal mining terms as “mitaka”.

However, the musician insists that he is not a mukorokoza but has become a fully-fledged miner with an operation that is being run professionally. The said operation is yet to be registered properly with the relevant authorities.

Allan adds that he has been in the trade for a number of years, a phenomenon that pushes him close to established miners since he is in the process of regularising his operations.

“Yes, I have a mining project in Mazowe. But my operations are not like those of illegal gold miners. In fact, I’m actually in the process of finalising my paper work with relevant authorities, among them the Environment Management Authority (EMA),” said Allan.

“I got involved in the mining business in 2011 and I now have three full-time miners that I’m working in partnership with under the name Spironken Mine.”

Over the years, Allan has proved that he will do anything to survive. In 2012 he abandoned his own band and then teething son, Douglas, to join Suluman, his nephew, as a dancer-cum backing vocalist, in order to earn a living.

In 2013, the musician had a brush with the law after being arrested for illegal trade in cellphones, which led many to conclude that Allan’s interest had shifted from the stage.

Holders of this view can easily be pardoned considering that the dendera musician’s last studio album “Simukai”, was released in 2009. Also, live gigs have not been as rewarding as expected for the “Mukana” singer. His other two albums include “Sonny” (2006) and Professor (2007).

“I have not quit music!” remarked Allan. “…I’m just an enterprising individual who also happens to be talented in a number of fields. For the record, I’m working on a six-track album that will probably be released end of this month. At the same time I’m still doing live shows. On Friday (last week), I will be at Gijima Sports Bar, then Kuwadzana before going to Chitungwiza,” said Allan.

Life for the prolific guitarist and singer appeared to have stabilised when he joined Suluman’s Orchestra Dendera Kings in 2012. But, things changed for bad when he left a year or so later. Market watchers contend it is necessary for Allan to try other avenues of income generation. This, they argue, is because the young brother to dendera king, Simon, is overwhelmed by the competition posed by the young and energetic Chimbetu offspring led by Suluman, Tryson and his son Douglas. Add to that, Allan is under siege from his baby mamas. The artiste has on several occasions been dragged to court either for not paying maintenance or by women demanding maintenance from him.

“Allan has a lot of responsibilities. Apart from being the father figure in the Chimbetu family, he also has his own family to take care of, which automatically creates challenges. Music alone cannot sustain him since he is not a crowd puller, he definitely needs to spread his wings,” said an arts critic who spoke on condition of anonymity.