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Portrait of an artist in jail: I Watta

By Rest Mutore

He was the most promising reggae artist in the country while still with Mic Inity’s Hotta Fya Band. I Watta, having realised his capability to conquer, become big-headed and was chucked out of Hotta Fya Band and he eventually went solo.

Portrait of an artist in jail: I Watta
Portrait of an artist in jail: I Watta

H-Metro met the talented artist at Harare Central Prison where he is serving a jail term for stealing from his manager. The musician was found guilty of theft by a Harare magistrate after he stole US$15 000 from his manager.

I Watta, whose real name is Gerald Masara, looked much older than a 26 year old. Despite being behind bars, he still has hope; he still believes that one day he will conquer the local music industry.

He is quite popular with his fellow inmates.

“It’s good to have you here. We appreciate your love,” he said before responding to the questions.

He said he is privileged to be up to date with what is going on in Zim dancehall despite being behind bars.

“Ndiri mukati hangu but ndirikuziva zvirikuita. It’s a privilege to me. I know all the guys who are doing well as the violence that took dancehall by storm.

“Recently I heard that a certain artist was bottled and that vapfana vekuMbare varikupisana in songs. That is however not good in dancehall. We want peace.

“I am being informed by people who are visiting me and we also have access to news,” he said.

Though he doesn’t resemble the I Watta, we used to know, the star said the incarceration had helped him in nurturing his career.

“This imprisonment didn’t drag my career back but rather it’s helping me. Here I am living and eating music.”

He has assembled a band, The Real Convicts, which will be entertaining other inmates.

“I have since formed a band and our duty is to entertain other inmates. We have made it to the Star Brite finals and I think it’s a clear message to other artists out there. You also saw me performing,” said the arrogant I Watta.

The chanter said he is leaving jail January 26 next year and it coincides with his birthday.

He pleads with promoters to organise a welcome and birthday bash for him.

He said he is working on an album he intends to launch that same day.

“I will complete my sentence on my birthday, 26 January 2015 and I will also unveil an album that same day.

“If possible, I would be happy if promoters organise something for me. My band members will also be out by that time and it’s an advantage to me.”

That day, I Watta shared the stage with Suluman Chimbetu and Leonard Zhakata. H Metro

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