Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Jah Prayzah: Master of political intrigue

By Vasco Chaya

Towering music star Jah Prayzah has joined the list of artistes whose music has been dragged into politics by Zimbabweans yearning for a new leader to take over from President Robert Mugabe who has been in power since 1980.

Jah Prayzah (right) seen here with Suluman Chimbetu
File Photo: Jah Prayzah (right) seen here with Suluman Chimbetu

The Uzumba-born artiste’s forthcoming studio album titled Kutonga Kwaro, to be released on October 13 this year, has already been unofficially and controversially renamed Kutonga Kwaro Garwe by some mischievous music fans.

Garwe is Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s nickname.

Jah Prayzah recently insisted that his forthcoming album has no political connotations. He has, however, been quick to point out that he could not prescribe how his music should be interpreted.

“Art is out there to inspire people to talk. What we do as artistes is interpreted in different ways by different people. It only means you are still creative if people come up with various meanings to what you give them. It should never be too obvious,” the musician told the Daily News on Sunday.

This is the second successive time Jah Prayzah’s music has been dragged into Zanu PF’s raging succession battle. Last year, some Mnangagwa supporters audaciously claimed that the Uzumba-born artiste’s song Mudhara Achauya was a prophetic track about Mnangagwa’s ascension to power.

The song praises a powerful father figure — Shumba inoruma (a vicious lion). Interestingly, Mnangagwa is of the Shumba totem.

The Zanu PF youth league has also adopted the same song Mudhara Achauya as the “theme song” at Mugabe’s on-going presidential youth interface rallies currently taking place across the country.

Mudhara Achauya is played as the 93-year-old leader makes his way to the podium. The league’s leader, Kudzanai Chipanga, has ordered DJs engaged at the on-going rallies to only play that song for Mugabe and no one else.

Jah Prayzah is not the only artiste whose songs have been dragged into politics by Zimbabweans hungry for a change in leadership.

In 2001, Oliver Mtukudzi’s song Wasakara, off his studio album Bvuma/Tolerance, was widely interpreted as an indirect attack on the aging leader Mugabe.

In her book Oliver Mtukudzi: Living Tuku Music in Zimbabwe, Jennifer Kyker states that the song was adopted as a de facto political anthem by members of the opposition MDC party.

“As one of Mtukudzi’s band members told me, ‘The opposition basically took it, and said to the president of Zimbabwe, ‘You must accept that you are old.’’ During live performances of the song, MDC members began engaging in overtly political gestures, flashing red cards to signify dissatisfaction with Zanu PF and waving their open palms in the air in a symbol of support for the MDC…,” Kyker wrote.

She added that a sound engineer called Steven Schadendorff landed in trouble during a live show at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) when he shone a beam on the portrait of Mugabe during Tuku’s performance of the song which forced the crowd to sing along.

Mugabe’s official portrait is hung on the wall in all government departments’ offices and buildings. It is also hung in the HICC.

As the crowd sang along “Bvuma, Bvuma Chete, Bvuma Wasakara, Bvuma Waunyana (Accept, accept that you are on the wane, accept you now have wrinkles on your skin),” Schadendorff continuously shone the beam on the long-serving Zimbabwe leader’s portrait.

Academic Fred Zindi claimed last year that Wasakara was the major reason why the University of Zimbabwe denied the most internationally-acclaimed Zimbabwean musician an honorary degree.

Then there is the late dendera star Simon Chimbetu’s song titled Simba Nederere, off the blockbuster Survival (1997) album. It triggered a cocktail of interpretations with some people claiming that it was targeted at Mugabe because he had reneged on his promise to prioritise the welfare of war veterans of Zimbabwe’s long-drawn-out liberation struggle.

Another song which some Zimbabweans alleged was dripping with political intrigue was the late sungura star Leonard Dembo’s Musha Rudziiko? The song continues to generate debate with some sections of the society claiming the song was meant to highlight the political and economic challenges that Zimbabwe has faced since the turn of the millennium.

In the song Dembo asks: “Musha rudziiko usingafare pwere? (What kind of a home is this where children are always sad?)”. Some politically-inclined music fans claim that Dembo was asking why innocent Zimbabweans were being denied their happiness.

  • Zvatotanga hokoyo

  • ngavasiyane ne mwana havanyari

  • lot chitakasha

    Some songs have become even more relevant now..Edwin Hama, Asina Mali, Waiting for a new day, Today’s Paper, Oliver Mtukudzi..bvongodza muto, Leornard Dembo..Kodzero, Tinokumbira kurarama..they are many!. Mudhara Vachauya is contested, irikubvutidzanwa, even MDC inotiwo Mudahara vachauya!

  • Musakanganisa talent remwana. Why dragging him into this smeared politics. He lives on music and all we know is hez doing well. He have been forced to speak against him being involved in politics. The album songs are not known already but your reporting is inciting and leading. Or it’s meant to then push him into singing a reverse version, to compensate his suspicions but ultimately ditching into politics

    • Iye ndiye bharanzi why naming your albums names facing the current situation ngaafunge mupfanha uyu anofira mahara

    • Iye ndiye bharanzi why naming your albums names facing the current situation ngaafunge mupfanha uyu anofira mahara

  • Kusanyara, makutoda kutomupfuudza mhondi

  • Ngazviende mberi mangwendere kunge mombe yechingwendere, takatorimirira album iroro anoimba zvinotereka mhani munhu uyo.

  • Hameno ikoko


  • Leave the artist out of your dirty politics. Fight your battles and leave Jah Prazah alone

    • ko nyufomu yemasoja yaanopfeka vamwe vachirambidzwa hais poritikisi ngazviende mberi .

  • muchenjeri

    Here’s a better version for Zanu people to use

  • I hate this muntu!

  • Iye jah musangomureverera mu Zanu pf akakwana uya

  • Takutotya kuratidza vanhu zvipo zvedu

  • Vusumuzi Masuku uyamzonda lomfana

  • Ndezveikoko yabaiwa ngaibude

  • … blinded by life , I dont think he is really sure of what he is doing.

  • zanu ndeye ropa inongouraya vanhu pasina mhosva .Habvume kukonewa kwavanoita

  • Hawadi kuona wanoita tunhu twawo.angonyora kambo kake naye sona sona

  • Yaaa mwana we zanu pf unform haipfekwi nemunhu asiri muzanu pf

  • Aaaaah nehanda inodhomokawo futi ,pambotaurwa kuti kutonga kwechii or zvangonzi kutonga kwaro

  • Tread carefully young man .Remember you are wearing the army uniform without a written permissition

  • U r spoiling talent remwana,yo journalism is unprofessional.

  • Agara ndewe politics munoty camouflage nekumarari kwaanoridza ndezvemahara here…

  • Ini handi vhoteri zunu pf andipengi

  • But he is the one dragging himself into political scandals,,mazita apera here ekudana ma albums,,ther is something fishy on naming his album “kutonga kwaro” ANI,RINYI

  • Its unfair, he is not a politician

  • lazy journalism one word for u asshole

  • hapana asingadi kuti ritonge

  • Everett Musvosvi who is this guy in yellow?

  • kutonga kwaro dictator IDI Amini

  • does he do it as marketing gimmick?