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Were they consumed by jealousy?

I can understand why Andy Muridzo ran for dear life at Banket Primary School after arriving three hours late for a performance scheduled for 1pm.

By Fred Zindi

He was chased off the stage by schoolchildren who had waited for him in anticipation since morning and he had to take cover in the students’ hostels. The facts here are clear. These children did not want to be taken for granted, so they attacked him for his unprofessional behaviour.

However, although the pattern is the same, I am still puzzled by the attack made on Jah Prayzah two weeks ago. I have spoken to many people about this mishap and have gathered different versions to the story. The facts are still not clear.

I spoke to several people who were present during the burial of Chrispen Nyemba at Glen Forest Cemetery and they gave me five different reasons for the attack on Jah Prayzah although they all denied having participated in the attack.

The first version was that it was due to the fact that Jah Prayzah, did not contribute anything towards the funeral expenses of his former security staff.

The second one was that it was because Jah Prayzah arrived late and his security staff asked everyone present to get out of the way so that he could get to the front.

The third one was that Jah Prayzah owed Chrispen three months’ salary and the family was angry about this.

The fourth one was that Jah Prayzah is a very arrogant person and has begun to take his paying fans for granted by coming to his concerts late. So, the fans took this opportunity to seek revenge.

The fifth one has to do with his album releases. They say that Jah Prayzah has delved into Zanu PF’s factional politics. As my informant put it: “Last year, he released Mdhara Vachauya and this year he released Kutonga Kwaro. People felt that he was referring to Zimbabwe’s former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF youths did not like this.”

Later, I spoke to people on the streets. Some were sympathetic, while others said that he deserved to be beaten because he does not look after his employees well or he is late for concerts, taking people who support his shows for granted.

After a careful analysis of these statements, I decided to confirm with Keen Mushapaidze, Jah Prayzah’s manager, if any of these statements were true. He dismissed them all and had this to say:

“I am not sure where these people are getting these statements from, or what the motive behind that attack was. We paid Chrispen his full dues after he appeared before a disciplinary hearing where he and two others were accused of pocketing some of the Third Generation’s door-takings.

We set a trap after reports of several incidents of the same nature had reached us and he was caught red-handed. Jah Prayzah and I decided to fire him. But as you are aware, some people when sacked from work do not always tell their families the truth. Perhaps this is where ‘I am owed money’ was coming from. We kept in touch with him even after his dismissal.

Only a week after the Kutonga Kwaro album launch, he phoned Jah Prayzah and said, ‘Nice album Mdhara’ and Jah Prayzah responded with a thank you. We felt it was our duty to be supportive of a former employee by attending his funeral. If we were not friends, we could have chosen not to go.

“Regarding the political connotations about the albums, this is pure coincidence. Jah Prayzah has never set out to record a political album. People have their different ways of interpreting his lyrics.”

I looked at the reasons for the attack once again and decided that all of them were frivolous. These people were not serious. Up to now I feel utter revulsion at these people. I do not have the words to adequately express this grotesque barbaric behaviour.
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

My feeling is that these attackers were consumed by jealousy.

Let’s face it, the young man at age 30 has achieved a lot in this difficult music industry. He has attained a level which very few Zimbabwean musicians have reached.

Apart from the many awards he has received in the past five years, he has also travelled all over the world and has done collaborations with many of Africa’s top musicians from South Africa, Tanzania to Nigeria, names which include Mafikizolo, Diamond Platinuz, Yemi Alade, and Davido. During his album launches he has received building stands worth $27 000 from Phillip Chiyangwa and $10 000 from Sir Wicknell Chivayo. He has also received a top-class Mercedes Benz from Mutare businessman and politician, Esau Mupfumi — achievements which are likely to make some people envious.

Someone will look at these achievements and say to himself. “I never went to university, just like Jah. I have never been out of Zimbabwe, yet Jah has already travelled all over the world because he can sing. I am even older than him but he is doing better than me.”

That alone is likely to spark envy and jealousy. It appears there was jealousy and anger harboured in the hearts of those villains involved in his attack. As psychologists say, someone else’s success often makes one insecure if he or she is not as successful. Insecurity often underlies jealousy. We feel threatened, or less than or not good enough. We fear that someone else’s strengths mean something negative about us.

Most of the people who joined the mob that chased Jah Prayzah at Glen Forest did not even know what the issues were. They just enjoyed participating in vilifying a perceived “enemy” for no good reason. That is known as jealousy.

As one mourner who was at the funeral confessed, “I had only seen Jah Prayzah on television and on YouTube. I used to admire him but when I heard that he refuses to have pictures taken with his fans, I began to have this feeling of resentment towards him. This was the first time I saw him close by but I joined in the chase for fun”.

Some people even took to social media to celebrate the stone-throwing at Jah Prayzah. I even recognised one of them from the video footage I was shown.

My analysis is that there was an unfounded sickening combination of possessiveness, suspicion and rage from these people which are the ingredients for jealousy.

This unsettling emotion called jealousy brings out the worst in human beings, even when they know better.

Jealousy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s human nature. It’s natural to feel jealous from time to time.

Many psychologists will tell you that jealousy becomes problematic when we act out in jealousy or we wallow in it. It becomes problematic when it starts to consume you and creeps into every aspect of your life, and you find yourself often feeling bitter and angry.

We also tend to feel jealous about others’ successes, strengths, lifestyles and relationships. For instance, we might believe someone’s life is much easier or more comfortable than ours. We see only the good in their life and only the “bad” in ours. Once we believe that our best friend has a better life than ours, then jealousy rears its ugly head.

We can treat ourselves from this jealousy. When we name the jealousy, it loses its power, because we are no longer letting it shame us. Acknowledging that you are jealous opens the door to learning.

Again, jealousy is a normal reaction. It becomes problematic when it becomes persistent. When you find yourself feeling jealous, recognise what is happening, then delve deeper into yourself.

It is time to let go of the jealousy you feel about Jah Prayzah. The consoling thing about Jah’s predicament is the fact that he still commands multitudes of fans who follow his music. To Jah, I say, no matter what those few haters think of you, the rest of us think you are divine. Period. What happened at Glen Forest is an unfortunate incident by a few barbaric people. It will come to pass.

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