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Jah Prayzah, Sulu turn fame into fortune

The music industry is regarded as one of the most paying sectors the world over.


A number of artists have built their careers in the music industry, at the same time accumulating fame and fortune.

Sulumani Chimbetu

Sulumani Chimbetu

International artists such as U2, Bon Jovi, Elton John and Lady Gaga are among the highest paid musicians in the world, according to Forbes. They are millionaires in their own right.

In Zimbabwe, while a number of artists have made fame, they have been eluded by fortune due to a plethora of challenges, chief being piracy and poor management systems. They have toiled in the industry but they have little to show for it.

The Standard Style sought to find out what fame has brought to some of the country’s highly-rated musicians.

Jah Prayzah’s manager Keen Mushapaidze could not be reached for comment yesterday, but a source close to the Jerusarema singer said music had transformed the lanky musician’s life.

“Jah Prayzah is doing well both on the stage and in improving his life. Very soon he is moving from Malbereign where he was staying to his new house in Whitecliff. Apart from owning a house in Whitecliff, he also owns other houses in Chitungwiza’s Unit J and along Mavingo Road,” said the source.

“He has posh cars that include a BMW, Mercedes Benz, Audi and a fleet of ex-Japanese cars.

Sungura ace Sulumani Chimbetu, who took the reins from his late father, is believed to have invested a lot in farming.

“Sulu has made a lot of money from music. He drives a Hammer and he has invested so much in farming. Most of the time he is at the farm and it seems it’s paying off,” said a close friend of the Dendera music singer.

“In terms of houses Sulu owns a flat in Belvedere where he stays and I understand he is building a house at one of his residential stands.”

However, Sulumani’s publicity manager Joe “Local” Nyamungoma said all was not rosy for Sulu because music was not paying compared to the time when his late father was performing.

“In Zimbabwe we are dependent on live shows because we are not paid royalties and there is a high rate of piracy,” said Nyamungoma.

“In other countries like Zambia, people buy CDs from record shops, but this is not the situation here.”

He said Sulumani has been doing well as the “heir” to the band.

“Simon and other legends in the industry managed to live lavishly and even bought houses through royalties and music sells and it will be difficult for Sulu to surpass his father’s achievements,” Nyamungoma said.

He, however, refused to divulge what the Batai Munhu hitmaker had accumulated since joining the music industry.

Zimdancehall sensation and man of the moment – Wallace “Winky D” Chirumiko – seems to be content with his ghetto life.

“He lives a humble life. He does not really show if he has made money in the music industry,” said a man from his neighbourhood in Kambuzuma.

“Winky D drives a Mercedes Benz and does not show off. Recently he had been driving a ‘small’ ex-Japanese car. I think he is still staying with his mother in Kambuzuma.”

However, his manager Jonathan Banda avoided the talk on Winky D’s possessions and bemoaned piracy as a lethal “virus” in the industry.

“Winky D always wants to see success defined beyond achievement of material possessions. While he is comfortable with what he has, he cherishes his family and what he has,” Banda said.

“He has been and continues to be affected like any other musician, [but] we have always had the flexibility to evolve in this environment and learn more consistent avenues like live shows.”

The Disappear hit-maker is enjoying a new lease of life and has won a string of awards, which most of the time carry financial gain.

The ugly tale of misfortunes is the order of the day for other musicians who still endure the hassle of boarding public transport, and selling their own CDs, among many other degrading activities.

One Response to Jah Prayzah, Sulu turn fame into fortune

  1. Mamvemve February 21, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

    The African definition of wealth is outdated and primitive. Driving a Mercedes or BMW does not mean you are rich, far from it. Most low and middle income people with ordinary jobs have paid up houses in low density areas and they are not considered to be wealthy by Zim standards. So to be fair to Sulu and Jah, whilst they are doing well they are very far from reaching a stage where we can actually call them wealthy.

    Obviously the weak economy and piracy plays a huge part in the fortunes of today’s musicians- Sipho Mabuse said his Burn Out single bought him his first car and house plus many other investments. Artists like Tuku and Mukanya who have toiled for decades are not $US millionaires in liquidity so it is a hard life.

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