[ By Times of Zambia March 16, 2013]
SABOI Imboela has undergone some evolution lately.
From a down home skinny dark girl with colouress dreams more than a decade ago, Saboi is a typical example of how a woman, who by African opinion is destined for the kitchen and to bear children, can break through the social ceiling, often marred with prejudice and stereotypes, that tend to define women in a certain way.
Yes, she is no strange name as far as Zambian music is concerned.
Formerly, a member of a once flourishing duo of early 2000s Shatel, she has been up to lots of things just to get her life in perspective.
Sure, a real woman’s got to dust herself, roll off her sleeves, work in the mud and get the job done.
Most musicians’ realise the importance of talent. Some talent, such as a beautiful singing voice or the ability to play instruments, may come naturally.
However, it takes many years of work to develop talent to a professional level.
For Saboi, in addition to her talent, she has managed to acquire something; no one could take away from her and that is education. One thing is true; she is on the pedestal of success as a career woman, who went on to acquire two university degrees from University of Zambia (UNZA) and Christchurch, New Zealand.
After throwing her heart and soul into books, her future can only be bright and not otherwise.
Many will remember how Saboi and Barbara Njovu, the Shatel girls who captivated Zambians with songs like Chilumendo, Naitopela, Gentele man, Nichani, Wainona, Kamuzi Kaka Beta and several others.
It was a new era in Zambian music, when decades before the domineering rumba and kwasa kwasa music from Zaire now Congo DR almost wiped out local rhythms.
Zambians were accused of being unpatriotic for preferring a foreign music genre that held the country’s musical sphere hostage.
The coming of Daddy Zemus, Nasty D, Danny, Jordan Katembula (JK), Tribal Cousins, Joe Chibangu, Black Muntu, New Age, Shatel and a host of others was indeed a breath of fresh air to the music industry.
Not forgetting Zambian music patriarchs like Emmanuel Mulemena, Paul Ngozi, Rikki Ililonga, Nashil Pitchen Kazembe, the Witch, Keith Mlevu, and several others who under very difficult circumstances managed to keep Zambian music flame burning.
There was however, a generational gap in Zambia at the turn of the century.
The young people could not identify with the old crop of musicians.
So the gap needed to be filled.
Thus Hip Hop and Raggamuffin took over too and youths where at home with it.
But the coming of Mondo Music under savvy business executive Chisha Folotiya gave birth to a new type of Zambian music.
For once, young people had something to identify with, and slowly rumba was dying out and the rest is history.
The music label mobilised and rounded up idle talent from everywhere leading to the music compilations that exposed lots of young people to the Zambian populous.
Talents like Katembula, Saboi, Barbra and a lot more who where signed-up on the label won the hearts of the masses.
You could say, Shatel, where Saboi emanated from and others were a pioneer of new Zambia music.
As late multi-grammy award winning American singer Whitney Houston would put it in her Greatest Love of All song, Saboi decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadow.
She embarked on an educational odyssey that would never be erased by anyone.