Forward Kwenda was born in the rural Buhera area of Zimbabwe, and as a boy excelled in traditional dance and recitation of ancient poetry. At the age of 10, he began to play ngoma (drums) and hosho (gourd rattles) for his mother's gombwe (rain-making) spirit. He was given the name "Forward" because of his curiosity about many subjects, enthusiastic involvement in many activities, and his singing for liberation war freedom fighters.
In 1985, Forward began playing in a unique complex style - much to the amazement of master mbira players two and three generations his senior. This style, considered in Shona culture to be "more ancient" because spirits prefer it