Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter’s honour. That is when man is fighting with an animal, but when human beings fight, who gets the honour? When two musicians fight, it is often due to the disrespect they have for each other, no matter how brilliant their performances are.
in the groove with Fred Zindi
It seems the beef between Seh Calaz and Soul Jah Love will continue for a long time to come. In 2014 at the much-touted dancehall face-off dubbed Sting, these two musicians had a physical fracas after clashing on stage. This ended in violence among the fans. Soul Jah Love blamed the ugly violence on Seh Calaz, whom he blamed for attacking him and also claimed that his rival attacked him for being a brilliant performer.
Since 2014, the unity they promised their fans has come to nought as they keep dis-respecting and “dissing” each other. For instance last year Soul Jah Love boycotted Seh Calaz’s birthday bash to which he had been invited and claimed that he never saw the invitation. The fights of these two musicians have escalated into 2017. These two artists might not be fighting physically now but many diss songs have come out of their camps, showing that they have no respect for each other. Songs such as Ndine Musindo, Life YeMboko, Ndoponda Chitunha Chamuka, Seh Pampers and Soul Jah Love Diss are evidence of disrespect between the two musicians. Seh Calaz also recently had beef with Ricky Fire, another rival.
As if that is not enough, little-known female Zimdancehall artiste, Mildred Munyikwa, popularly known as Lindsay, has publicly declared war on Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave in a diss song as she sings:
“Tete Fungisai chava churu chakapinda nyoka, Aunty Fungi is now irrelevant to gospel music let alone she calls herself Émpress Fungi, that is a shame,” goes part of the song.
Lindsay’s diss comes at a time when Fungisai seems to have found her ground in the genre and is probably becoming a threat to struggling newcomers like Lindsay.
Fungisai introduced herself to the dancehall genre through a Killer T collaboration in the song Vanondibatirana.
“Fungisai is now old and irrelevant, aitozamawo luck paakamboda kuimba naKiller T [She was only trying her luck when she sang with Killer T]”.
“I actually feel sorry for her because no one will take her seriously and she will not have any fans.
“I challenge the aged artist to come forward and clash with me at the Chipaz’ dancehall clash this year if she thinks she has what it takes.”
Surely, that is dis-respect. Dancehall is not all about dissing each other. Conscious, educative lyrics which show respect for one another will assist in the development of a peaceful and well-cultured Zimbabwe.
The most disrespectful and embarrassing thing I witnessed was at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) at the Mafikizolo concert which also featured Alexio Kawara, Oliver Mtukudzi and Tocky Vybes. Although this happened in 2015, I chose not to write about it then because Tocky Vybes was at the peak of his career with his hit — Mai — and I felt that if I wrote about this incident, it would spoil his career.
During the performances by Alexio Kawara and Mtukudzi, I was sitting on the backstage high chair until Tocky Vybes came on the stage with a whole heap of people accompanying him.
One of his bouncers asked me to move from my chair so that Tocky Vybes could sit on it as an introduction to his grand stage entrance. I obliged and moved to a smaller chair. At that point in time, I was joined backstage by Jah Prayzah. The two of us were busy chatting when suddenly, one of Tocky Vybes’ bouncers named Baba aNgoni confronted us and said: “Hey you two, remove yourselves from the stage, because Tocky doesn’t want anyone backstage!” I stood my ground and then Elvis Bokosha, Tocky’s manager, who had witnessed the confrontation came and apologised. He let us stay. I kept wondering what Tocky Vybes needed bouncers for. Jah Prayzah or Mtukudzi who in my opinion are bigger artists than him, do not move around with bouncers. Besides, how much does he pay his bouncers? What money is he making to afford bouncers?
After the confrontation with his bouncers, the then 21-year-old came on stage clad in a black suit, “glass” shoes and a magician’s top hat. He was received with thunderous applause.
If he had walked off the stage then, the Mai singer would have been able to tell his mother that people cheered loudly for him, but he didn’t and it was downhill from there onwards. When it was time to sing, there was trouble in paradise for Tocky.
Firstly, the sound was bad for some reason. You could see sound engineer Tamie Bimha trying his best to deal with constant feedback but he didn’t get it quite right.
At that stage, after being roughed up by Tocky’s bouncers, I decided to go home. After all, I had seen Mafikizolo and the bigger artists perform. I said to myself I will see Tocky another time. I said goodbye to Jah Prayzah and left him backstage. However, as I was approaching my house, my phone rang. It was Jah Prayzah, “Prof, after you left, those people kicked me out from the stage!” he cried. I knew he needed my fatherly counselling there and then as his ego was hurt. I said to him, “Do they know that you are a bigger artist than them? The reason why you are backstage is because you don’t want to be mobbed by your fans in the crowd.” He also left the concert and went home.
Later, I thought to myself, even if you cannot change all the people around you, you can change the people you choose to be around. Life is too short to waste your time on people who don’t respect, appreciate, and value you.
Spend your life with people who make you smile, laugh, and feel loved. There is nothing to be gained by disrespecting one another. This is a lesson all musicians must learn.