Gweru reggae icon Tawanda Joseph Nhara, aka Man Soul Jah, has taken a swipe at local broadcasters, particularly ZBC radio stations, for shunning his music, accusing some radio DJs at the public broadcaster of soliciting for bribes in order to play his music.
By Sandra Maricho
Man Soul Jah recently released his ninth album titled Brighter Day (Mhororoi), which is a “tribute to the second republic”, but it seems the new songs have failed to reach the heights of his yesteryear track Mr Government Man.
Mr Government Man became part and parcel of the propaganda cache at the State-controlled broadcaster while Man Soul Jah was a regular feature at State-run music galas and national events. For his “sweat”, the former Gweru Polytechnic lecturer was rewarded with a job to lead one of ZBC’s radio stations.
However, he was a casualty when the national broadcaster terminated contracts for hundreds of its workers three years ago.
His comeback to the music scene has not been that been rosy after his former paymasters shut out his music.
“We are having challenges in having our music played on radio, especially on ZBC radio stations,” he said.
“They are playing rubbish music without any messages repeatedly, but if you listen to my music one would wonder why Man Soul Jah’s music is not being played considering its high quality.”
Nhara, who seems to have lost goodwill from the “new government”, said his music was more revolutionary compared to most of the “bubble gum” music getting airplay on radio stations.
“My music is very revolutionary because it changes people for the better. The messages in all my songs are very constructive and l believe that those who genuinely listen to my music without jealousy will love it,” he said.
Man Soul Jah said he expects Arts minister Kirsty Coventry to reset the music industry in the country so that musicians earn a living through their hard work.
“At the moment we are victims of careless pirates who are selling our music worth hundreds of dollars for only a single dollar,” he said.
Nhara said Coventry should rein in corrupt DJs and stop the rot at radio stations.
Apart from the title track Brighter Day, Man Soul Jah’s album carries songs such as Gambinga, Make it Work, Maringoringo, Mhoroi Chihwa, Rat Race, Smile Zimbabwe and Thieves in the Temple.
He has done videos for songs Brighter Day, Mhoroi Chihwa and Love this Reggae.
Man Soul Jah started his music career in 1983 and released his debut album titled Dreams of a Freedom Fighter in 1990.
“Although my music is not being played on national radio stations, l will not quit doing music because it is what defines me,” he said.
The popular reggae crooner he has kept his dreadlocks from 1989 and is proud of being a Rastafarian.