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Van Choga: The manifestation of a decade’s toil

By Kennedy Nyavaya

First it was the snippet videos that sparked an internet craze, later came the attention to half-baked records and a few days ago, it was an international collaboration with Ghana’s trending rapper AY Poyoo — the story of Valentine “Van” Choga’s rise is littered with awe.

While it is still easy to dismiss him as a fluke, Van Choga’s efforts, since beginning his music journey in primary school and launching a professional career in 2010, appear to be paying off now.

He claims it has taken him the last decade of hard-hitting lyrics and perhaps shabby apparel to earn a breakthrough into the mainstream.

“The art was just different when I started and in Africa it takes time for us to adapt to new things, but I am glad my work is being accepted now,” he told Standard Style on Friday.

The streets, he says, did not think it was possible and his family just did not understand him but all that had changed.

“My family just left me to be back then. |They never looked into what I was doing, but now most of them are amazed by what I have achieved,” said the 27-year-old.

Whether by mere stroke of luck or calculative genius, the Ruwa-based artiste has redefined the local music terrain with his unique act.

“People are shocked when they see me going about my daily life normally because they think all the energy and actions are what I do in real life,” he said while dispelling the insinuations that he abuses drugs.

“As a Christian, you will notice that there is a message in every song I release and I have boundaries of the things that I can do and what I cannot.”

Such is the uncanny impact of the media-shy artiste. He promises that more is set to come from the “counter books” full of music in his possession.

For Van Choga, the greatest mission is spreading a positive message in society than gaining fame and material possessions.

“I want my music to get to many people because I am concerned with delivering the messages I have and material things will come, but they are not the main goal,” he said.

However, sections of music fans have been calling on Van Choga to stick to one genre. But he insists that versatility is central to his work which he intends to appeal to a wider spectrum.

“What happens is that people from cities like Harare are saying hip-hop is good, but if you go to the outskirts there are people who love the Zimdancehall sound so I will continue with both,” he said.

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