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Zim dancehall fraternity pays tribute to Soul Jah Love

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ON 6 August 2022, the Zim dancehall fraternity will gather at the Glamis Arena for what has been dubbed the Soul Jah Love Commemoration Gala.

JONATHAN MBIRIYAMVEKA

The gala, coming a week before the Heroes Holidays, sets the tone for celebration as fellow musicians and fans converge to celebrate their hero in music — Soul Jah Love — whose real name was Soul Muzavazi Musaka.

Soul Jah Love was accorded liberation hero status by Zanu PF, joining the ranks of popular musicians like Simon Chimbetu and Cde Chinx Chingaira.

Soul Jah Love, who was diabetic, died on 16 February 2021 at Mbuya Dorcas Hospital in Harare after a short illness. 

He was buried at the provincial Heroes’ Acre at Warren Hills just next to th3 grave of his father, Ephraim Ticharwa Musaka.

Obert Mpofu, the Zanu PF secretary for administration, said at the time that the conferment of liberation hero status had changed over the years in form and context.

“It is no longer limited to those who played in the liberation war only, but those who actively advocated for the emancipation and liberation of people in post-independence Zimbabwe are now being accorded the same honour,” he said.

While thousands of fans attended the burial at Warren Hills provincial heroes’ acre in Harare, there were also gatherings as far afield as London, where Soul Jah Love fans gathered in their numbers dancing and singing to his songs.

Videos of the scenes went viral on social media showing how much Soul Jah Love’s music had impacted people’s lives beyond Zimbabwe’s borders.

While many agree that Soul Jah Love was immensely talented, there are those who feel he lacked discipline and did not come across as a role model.

Lyrical genius, yes! And talent can get you to the door but character sustains you, yet this is where he fell far too short.

If you listen to his words of wisdom in songs like Kana Ndafa, Ndichafa Rinhi?, Mwari Ndovatenda on Bodyslam riddim, to Ndini Uya Uya you really appreciate his great artistry.

But as one switches to Yeke Yeke, in which he explicitly sings about sex, to Pamamonya Ipapo and Naka Dhula Dhaka, in which he glorifies drugs, you begin to wonder what sort of impact he made on his fans, the majority of whom are ghetto youths.

According to Partson Chimbodza of Chipaz Promotions who are putting the gala together, Soul Jah Love was the people’s hero.

“He was everyone’s hero and we thank government for making him a provincial hero,” he said, adding that, “Every artiste is relevant to their fans, but what differs is the magnitude depending on how much fans accept you artistically.”

Chimbodza said the response towards the gala has been massive and the organisers are thinking of making it an annual event.

“There has been support from every corner not only in Zim dancehall but across all genres. It would be best to have the gala every year, not hosted by Chipaz, since Sauro worked with so many promoters. We would want to give others a chance to organise the gala in liaison with the family,” he said.

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