BY FRED ZINDI
Congratulations go to top local dancehall artiste, Winky D on winning the Jamaican International Reggae and World Music Award (IRWA) last month.
The whole process was conducted digitally via Zoom. If there was no Covid-19 outbreak across the world, Winky D would have found himself in Kingston Jamaica to receive the award.
We are very proud of this achievement, especially coming from a country which a lot of Zimbabweans have respect for its music and culture since independence.
You may ask: What is it about Jamaica which fascinates people the world over? Some say it is the “natural mystic” that the legendary Bob Marley sang about.
However, for me, having visited the island several times, it is that thing one cannot quite put a finger on because it is a combination of elements which makes the country unique.
Jamaica has long been known as a cultural powerhouse through its music, sport (remember Hussein Bolt) and other religious and cultural creativities such as Rastafarianism.
This is the second time Winky D has missed the opportunity to be physically present in Jamaica.
In January last year before the outbreak of Covid-19, Winky D was given the opportunity to perform live in Saint Ann’s at Rebel Salute Festival.
Unfortunately, this was the same period when Winky D was embroiled in a dispute with the authorities here over the New Year’s concert which had been scheduled for the end of 2019.
It made the arrangements for visa applications difficult and Patrick ‘Tony Rebel’ Barrett, the organiser, was disappointed that Winky D could not make it.
He had had a vision and wanted to show the world how reggae music had spread its wings to Africa.
Jamaica is the country where dancehall was born. It has since spread its wings to reach countries like Zimbabwe where the ghetto youths have labelled it Zimdancehall.
In Zimbabwe this genre has to some extent toppled other genres like sungura, jiti, rumba or museve.
Well, Winky D deserves the honour that he received from Jamaica. He has remained consistent in this genre over the years.
In Zimbabwe, he has consistently won the National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) over the years.
Winky D, aka Wallace Chirumiko, is one artiste who has been blessed with good song-writing skills and sober habits. He is a talented chanter and a charismatic entertainer of high calibre. He has proved his mettle among all the newcomers and remains the ‘Big man’.
Recently, before the IRWA award, Winky D also won the Best Dancehall Artiste 2020 Award at the African Entertainment Awards from the United States of America (AEAUSA) after battling out in the same category with Patoranking, Shatta Wale, Bebe Cool, Jose Chameleone and several other African artistes.
The AEAUSA awards ceremony which is always held annually in New Jersey and organised by African promoters, sees 30 awards being presented to various artistes across Africa with the mission to support, celebrate and uplift African Entertainment.
Winky D recently released Ragga Musambo Trilogy, with three new tunes, David And Goliath; Reggae Msambo, and Reply. These songs immediately set social media on fire. His music, which speaks to the struggles of the youth in the country’s ghettos, has seen his popularity rankings growing.
Two years ago there was speculation that new dancehall artistes had emerged and Winky D would be a thing of the past, but hell no, he has remained on top of this genre and outsmarted all those who thought that they could topple or dethrone him but he is still wearing his big Zimdancehall crown.
For instance, in 2018, Chillspot Records came up with a scorcher in the form of Stephen Kudzanai Mamhari, better known as Enzo Ishall.
We had begun to watch Enzo Ishall with a hawk’s eyes after his release of Kanjiwa, which he followed up with another hit: Smart Inotangira Kutsoka thinking that he would become Winky D’s greatest challenger, but that fell aside as Winky D came up with more hits like Sekai, Ragga Msambo, Ijipita and Gombwe.
Indeed Kanjiwa, which came with a new groove and a new dance style (where everyone who danced to the song would raise their legs and scream ‘aka’ ‘aka’) out of Mbare, was his biggest song which drew all our attention towards this young man.
He has now definitely been left behind by Winky D despite his latest efforts in songs like Uri Kutsvireiko Tea Kana Isina Sugar.
Although Enzo depended a lot on ‘riddims’ made by Chillspot Records, whatever inspired him to come up with lyrics such as those in Kanjiwa, Matsimba and Uri Kutsvireiko makes a big difference to his music.
Winky D, who sings about social issues which the youth can identify with, has remained at the top of Zimdancehall scene by keeping clean lyrics in most of his songs.
For Winky D, charity begins at home. He is popular at home and slowly moving his popularity internationally.
Winky D was among the artistes who were featured in the Southern Africa Music Airwaves (Sama) Festival in 2009.
He also won an award as the best dressed Zimdancehall artiste in 2014. He also came up tops at the second edition of Zimdancehall Awards held in March 2015.
Over the years, several Zim dancehall artistes have made attempts to outdo Winky D and steal the title from him but all in vain.
Many thought that they would rise to the challenge, but Winky D has remained cool, calm and collected when it comes to his approach to music.
Some artistes such as Seh Calaz have had a go at trying to get popularity off him by dissing him in their songs, but this has also failed.
Ninja president, Winky D, being mature enough decided not to reply to these attacks, but instead called for peace among the Zimdancehall artistes through his songs such as Mafeelings, Tiki Taka, Sungura- Like and PaGhetto.
Then came ‘The General’, Sniper Storm, who together with Winky D, were scheduled to perform as opening acts for Jamaican dancehall artiste, Mavado when he came to Zimbabwe.
Winky D performed first and kept Mavado and Sniper Storm waiting backstage. Efforts were made by the organising people of the show to get the ‘Bigman’ off stage and make way for Sniper Storm’s performance but to no avail.
Sniper Storm then took matters into his own hands and snatched the microphone off Winky D. Sniper’s actions did not go down well with the audience.
They caused a rage as the crowd threw all sorts of missiles including empty beer cans on the stage when he tried to perform.
Winky D emerged as the victor in this feud as music fans applauded him for keeping his cool after this incident.
At some point, we all thought that his trophy was about to be stolen by a lanky young newcomer in the name of Tocky Vibes who was highly rated among the ghetto youths.
So much had been said about the negative side of Zimdancehall until this young man came out with the hit song, Amai which was liked by many for its unique lyrical content.
With this hit song, he seemed to be winning the hearts of Zimbabweans.
Another artiste whom we thought would rise to the challenge was Boom Betto when he came up with the tune Munodonhedza Musika.
Another Winky D challenger was Saul Musaka, aka Soul Jah Love.
Many ghetto youths, particularly in Mbare were behind Soul Jah Love’s music, but although also popular, he never reached Winky D’s level.
In 2016, I was moved when Soul Jah Love came up with the songs, Dai Hupenyu Hwaitengwa and Pamamonya Ipapo to the extent that even Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) decided to invite Soul Jah Love to do an advertisement for ZBC licenses.
Soul Jah Love is now gone and Winky D remains the top dancehall artiste in Zimbabwe.
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