Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

‘I heard Jah Prayzah was cruel’

…then I became his dancer

By Taonga Nyemba

Jah Prayzah’s new dancer Tanaka Lisa who has endeared herself with fans has opened up on various aspects of her life. Tanaka who is also a model said she has been managing under the supervision of Jah Prayzah and his manager Keen Mushapaidze.

Jah Prayzah’s new dancer Tanaka Lisa
Jah Prayzah’s new dancer Tanaka Lisa

The youthful dancer said she grew up bunking school only to go and dance because she loved dancing.

H-Metro Entertainment reporter TAONGA NYEMBA (TN) spoke to Tanaka Magwenzi (TM) who reflected on the path she has travelled so far. Read on…

TN: Hello Tanaka how’ve you been?

TM: I’ve been good, thanks and you?

TN: Tell us your full name and age?

TM: Yeah, My name is Tanaka Lissa Magwenzi and I am 22.

TN: Which schools did you attend?

TM: I went to Ruvheneko Primary School, Glen Norah High 2, Vimbai High School in Norton and l went to Norton Vocational Training Centre to study cosmetology.

TN: So, were you always a dancer?

TM: I was always a dancer, I started when l was five and l would get called to dance at parties, graduation ceremonies and other events.

TN: Your experience as a woman in the dancing industry?

TM: Well it’s not only a woman’s experience in the industry, even guys have experienced “exposure” where you get to perform either at a school or on stage to get your name out there, to be known and to gain confidence or something along those lines.

I used to perform at my schools’ ceremonies for free because it was not valuable to be a dancer until l worked my way out of “exposure”. Dance is a form of art and only a few can call us artists.

TN: Normally women who dance or model have been stigmatized. How have you managed to keep a good image?

TM: As l got into the industry, l had my principles and l made sure l followed them and that way l maintained a good image and also l have high self-esteem about myself.

It’s not about how people may view me, as long as l am doing what l love and know that l am a principled somebody that’s all that matters.

TN: We cannot run away from the fact that there are male predators in the industry how have you managed to survive in such an industry?

TM: It’s all about principles and how you value yourself, it doesn’t matter if you have one predator or 20 it all comes down to the value and the principles you put upon yourself.

As a woman or as a lady, there will always be people who have sexual interests regardless of the industry you are in, so it’s not necessarily about my industry but l, just being a young woman l take good care of myself.

Yes there are bound to be people who have sexual interests but obviously l always make sure that l remain focused.

These are outside of my work environment and usual people that l just come across in my normal day to day life.

TN: Are you taken?

TM: Yes l do have a boyfriend.

TN: How does your boyfriend take your career?

TM: In everything you do, you need someone who supports, respects what you do and respects what you love, whether you are a girlfriend or a boyfriend and that’s the core of any relationship.

So, for me when l chose my boyfriend l considered someone who l know is very supportive of the things that l wish to achieve in life hence such a person will not give me difficulties regarding my career.

TN: Why did you choose to become a dancer of all the professions?

TM: I chose dance because l enjoy it and I love dancing and l had the passion and talent ever since l was a little girl.

A lot of people die miserable because they chose a profession that they grew up hearing about and think that those are the right ones for them but to achieve happiness and attain happiness in life it’s all about doing what you love.

TN: How are you surviving from dancing?

TM: Dance brings food on my table every day.

I grew up in a unique way. I started renting when l was 18 close to 19 and l would pay rentals using dance money.

I learnt to survive alone with no help from anyone, it is going to be my lifetime career and l am proud of it.

TN: Did you attend any dance school or it is an inborn talent?

TM: I taught myself how to dance through watching television, l never went to a school of music and dance. My mother was a dancer as well, a very good one.

TN: How is your relationship with Jah Prayzah?

TM: First of all Jah Prayzah is my boss but in the same work environment and same work space he is also a bigger brother to me.

I address Jah Prayzah as mukoma every time and he gladly greets me as a little sister (mupfaname) and that’s how the relationship is like ,the same way l have any other social or job related problems l can see him and he can assist me at any given point and time as a younger sister.

TN: How did you gain trust from him?

TM: It’s all about hard work and dedication.

Making sure that l am loyal to the brand at the time that l am working with the brand. Focused and getting along with the vision of the brand. It’s been extremely amazing to work with JP, l was so excited when l got to be a part of JP and the 3rd generation band.

I was scared to get on the mic and sing but he helped me gain confidence and apart from being a dancer at MTM l am also a backing vocalist and l am learning to play a few instruments as well.

TN: How has it been like working with JP?

TM: Jah Prayzah is a very kind and caring man apart from work he does not hesitate to help the ones in need.

To be honest before l went to Military Touch Movement l told myself l was never going to work for JP because l have always heard rumors saying that JP is very wicked, he does not care about anyone else but himself, he does not pay and all.

Now I know you will never get to know someone through other people. Once you get to know him you will find out that none of the rumors are true.

He is helping most of us discover more of our hidden talents and we get to record at JP studios, even if we want to shoot dance clips which do not have anything to do with him or MTM, he offers us cameras instead of hiring from outside our camp.

TN: What can you say about JP as your boss?

TM: I can write a whole book of how good that man is.

TN: How long have you been working with JP?

TM: It has been a year now since l started working with JP and trust me it’s the best year of my life.

TN: Apart from JP which other artistes have you worked with?

TM: l have worked with other artistes not only on stage but on videos as well.

Other artistes includes Ammara Brown, Chengeto Brown, Killer T, Stunner, Diamond Boys, Coco Master, Nyasha David, Simba Tags, Ninja Kid, Vimbai Zimuto, Patoranking, Nutty O and Tha New Guy

TN: How have you managed to be where you are?

TM: I kept on being focused, hard work and dedication.

I started when l was still in school I wasn’t allowed to do what l do now because each time a person heard about dance they’d always think of strip clubs.

Sometimes l would skip school and go for rehearsals or performances the get back home.

I’d get punished but that did not stop me until they realized they can’t do anything about me and here l am now making my family proud, travelling and making waves.

TN: What motivation can you give to aspiring dancers?

TM: To aspiring dancers l say do not give up no matter how hard it can be, God has a reason why you are at that position but it’s only temporary.

Pray and believe in him because he is the one that makes a way where there seem to be none.

Focus, follow your dream, work hard and be committed to what you love.

TN: How do you balance dancing and modelling?

TM: Dance and modelling are not too far from each other. I am not a runway model. I am a brand ambassador of cre8tivemindart which is a photography studio, l might not be dancing in some videos.

I would be a video vixen.

TN: What’s your best moments in life?

TM: My best moment in life was to be recognized and listed as one of the best female dancers not only in Zimbabwe but probably the whole of Africa.

TN: Your worst moment?

TM: My worst was to be looked down upon before l became who l am now.

TN: As a dancer and model how do you keep yourself fit?

TM: Some people think l go to gym but l don’t. The only exercise l do is dance and eat healthy.

TN: Who does your wardrobe?

TM: KK stitches and MTM’s very own designer Thembani Masocha do my wardrobe even though at times I dress myself.

TN: Any special shout outs?

TM: Shout out to my family, friends, work mates.

Special shout out to our manager Keen Mushapaidze, Nyasha Madzinga well known as Noni dancer, for believing in me and everyone who has been a part of my journey. I love you guys. H Metro