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Chakare: Zimdancehall’s ‘necessary evil’

This year’s edition of the Zimdancehall awards was near flawless, but also had a fair share of drama and emotions that ran high.

By Nigel Pfunde/Don Makanyanga

Typical of showbiz awards world over, there was a bit of controversy here and there.

Award-winner Seh Calaz took a swipe at his rival Ricky Fire during his acceptance speech, as did Soul Jah Love, who insinuated that dancehall music starts and ends with him.

However, the biggest incident which sent a lot of tongues wagging was the announcement by Bodyslam Records boss Simbarashe “DJ Trouble” Chakare that he was quitting promoting dancehall music.

This was after a logistical glitch by the organisers in which they erroneously omitted announcing his name yet he was on the winners’ list for an honorary award in the Zimdancehall promoters category.

The evidently emotional Chakare quickly took to social media where he registered his disappointment.
It was because of his frank talk that some dancehall music fans threw insults at him.

However, no amount of insults can nullify the fact that Chakare has made an immense contribution to Zimdancehall dating back to the 1990s where he was part of the Bodyslam Sounds as a mere teenager.

In a manner reminiscent of Kanye West’s outburst at the 2009 MVA awards, Chakare’s frank talk compels one to label him the genre’s “necessary evil”.

One might not like him, but his contribution to the genre is tangible and is there for anyone who dares to see.

Driven by his passion for music in 2014, Chakare opened Bodyslam Recording Studios, which served as a major platform for artistes like PTK, Papoose, Diaspora, Seh Calaz, Magical and many others.
Almost every dancehall hitmaker has passed through the studio and many ghetto youths were given a lifeline to put food on their tables.

Hate him or love him, the man is the genre’s “neccesarry evil”.

His stable gave a platform to several ghetto youths who had talent but lacked exposure.

Bodyslam Recording Studio has become one of Zimdancehall’s major employers as it records artists for free and hosts several gigs for them.

Its closure would be catastrophic to the genre.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Standard Style last week, Chakare could not categorically state whether he will go back on his announcement, which is devastating to the industry.

“Well, I can only say, dancehall music is my first love, I grew up surrounded by it, I ate it, drank it and slept it and I pray that it will keep on rising and the ghetto youths will prosper and stay strong.I will not comment about the awards; they came and they are gone but the music still plays,” he said.

But who is this man who was being vilified left, right and centre by some sections of the dancehall fraternity?

Chakare was born six months after the country’s independence, making him a “born free.” He grew up with his maternal grandmother in Harare’s Highfield high-density suburb.

He has one sibling, DJ Nyashvale.

“I grew up in Fio (sic) and I went to Kuwangira School and Kwayedza High School,” he said
Chakare said during his school days, Mathematics was his favourite subject and he won academic prizes in that subject.

“I loved Maths and I guess that explains why I deal with figures even now,” he recalled.
Chakare thanked God for giving him a strict grandmother and uncles who played a pivotal role in his upbringing as he managed to resist peer pressure from drug abusing colleagues.

“My uncles and grandmother told me how bad drug abuse was and I stayed away and it moulded me well,” he narrated.
Chakare had his own fair share of trouble which quickly earned him the nickname DJ Trouble.

Apart from his intimate relationship with music, Chakare was also a football player of repute and played as a defender in his high school team.

“I was also good at soccer and used to play it with my friends at Zororo Centre in my hood. I still love the sport to this day,” he said.

He was also actively involved in dancehall music, juggling the decks for Bodyslam International under the name DJ Trouble.

He was under the tutelage of his uncles — Langton “Bush” Cheya and Hilary Chabvuta.

Bodyslam had serious collaborations with artists and reggae chanters such as Badboy Sounds’s Papa Lodza, Booker T and Major E, etc.

After high school, DJ Trouble went to work with Paul Muchena at Ranspo Clearing and Shipping Company for 10 years where he mastered the art of clearing and shipping before forming his own company in 2010, partnering with Tinashe Mashita.

He acquired clearing and forwarding qualifications to boost his knowledge of the business.

Chakare is now a proud owner of Hillgate Shipping, a company that offers shipping and clearing services. The fruits of this enterprise saw the birth of Bodyslam Trucking.

“The trucks operate in Zimbabwe ferrying goods to any local destination,” he said.

Asked about how he resists temptation from female fans, Chakare said his wife was a major pillar.

“She has supported me for the past 12 years, even when I sometimes used too much financial resources for our business and ploughed it into music,” he said.

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