By Prince Mushawevato
The musical career of Wallace “Winky D” Chirumiko has revolved around his young brother Trevor “Layan” Chirumiko who besides being the ninja president’s backing vocalist, also acts as his producer and close confidant.
Ever since storming onto the limelight, the ninja president has preferred living in a cocoon and seems reluctant to work with fellow upcoming musicians especially those who are excelling in the dancehall genre.
The move worked for sometime as Winky D was Zimbabwe’s undoubted dancehall king but with a new crop of stars laying siege on his fortress, many believe the ninja president’s end is nigh.
His position on the ragga throne has become precarious with newcomers and upstarts clamouring for the top spot. The contenders led by high-riding chanters Soul Jah Love, Freeman, Kinner, Seh Calaz, Prince of Fire Dadza D, Killer T, Shinsoman and most recently Tocky Vibes have created problems for Winky D.
It is said the ghetto jury has sat and found the ‘‘Bigman’’ guilty of turning on the ghetto for the love of money. And there are no mitigating factors as it is said the only time he now performs in the ghetto is when big companies are involved.
“He is no longer a part of us,” laments the ghetto youths.
His Mafira Kureva message is said not to have been born out of consciousness of the problems back in the hood but was a contract from NGOs involved in anti-drug abuse campaigns.
But the ninja president, it looks, is not apologetic at all and insists he is still a ghetto devotee. The energetic and charismatic chanter was made in the Ghetto Lane Clashes, where he earned great respect and the moniker Winky D from Wicked Deejay.
Evidence on the ground reveals that Winky D is now playing second fiddle to the new stars. He no longer has the clutch on fans like it used to be back in the days of Musarova Bigman and Controversy.
In short, the Maninja era seems to be on a free-fall.
Visibly, catch-phrases on the dancehall scene have shifted from Maniiiinjah to Killer T’s gunfire sounds – po po po po, Seh Calaz’s Check-Check and Souljah Love’s Hauite-Hauite.
Add to this, Winky D’s recent fusion of sungura and dancehall, in what could easily be described by arts enthusiasts as the height of creativity, is now being used by his detractors as a sign of the musician’s idea bankruptcy.
They argue, he is fast diverting from dancehall and in the process trying to create a new uncontested avenue.
But apart from the ongoing challenges, the Bigman has refused to plunge. He has stood his ground throwing in punch-for-punch. To this, he has also made it a policy that each public outing or gig opportunity that he gets is fully maximised on.
Also, he has rode on selected riddims that are being churned out on a daily basis by various dancehall stables dotted around town.
And sometime in the first half of this year, Winky D emerged the biggest winner during the first edition of the inaugural ZimDancehall Awards, grabbing four accolades.
He scooped the best artiste (male), best social message, best live performer and best video while his manager, Jonathan Banda, walked away with the best manager award.
His victory, however, disappointed some of the guests that attended the event. They felt, for instance, the best artiste 2013 award belonged to in-form dancehall artistes that include Soul Jah Love and Killer T.
But in terms of live performance, the public seemed to be in agreement that the ninja president (Winky D) is second to none. Also, they agreed that his song Mafirakureva had poignant lyrics that cannot be ignored.
Throughout his career, Winky D has never been short of controversy. Upon bulldozing into the limelight, he began refusing to play the role of supporting artiste for a low fee.
In December 2010, the ninja president pulled out of a scheduled performance from Capleton’s Zimbabwean tour after he failed to reach common ground on payment terms.
Some hailed him for knowing his value and refusing to be shortchanged.
But he also failed to perform at President Mugabe’s inauguration gala held in August 2013 at the National Sports Stadium following contrasting statements about the musician’s whereabouts during the event.
His height of arrogance was, however, to be reached during his performance as supporting act to Jamaican artiste Mavado. He would not leave the stage for Sniper Storm.
Sniper Storm then took matters into his own hands and snatched the mic from Winky D. The incident sparked a storm and made headlines resulting in heated debate all over the country and abroad.
Winky D was born in Zimbabwe on February 1, 1983 in Harare, Kambuzuma. Sunday Mail