Soul Jah Love, a dancehall hero

BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

HE should at least wake up to see this!

The late award-winning Zimdancehall singer Soul Jah Love was admired by many from across the political divide, and this could partly explain why President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday didn’t hesitate to declare him a liberation hero.

Born Soul Muzavazi Musaka, Soul Jah Love succumbed to diabetes complications on Tuesday evening at Mbuya Dorcas Hospital in Waterfalls, Harare, at the age of 31.

He will be buried tomorrow morning at Warren Hills Cemetery in the capital with a few people in attendance, in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Family spokesperson Solomon Musaka said they were happy as a family with the recognition bestowed on the late Zimdancehall sensation.

“We are really happy with what has been done by our government. We have welcomed the gesture, this is a very high recognition. We are happy that the leadership has seen it fit to confer him with the liberation hero status,” he said.

Youths from across the political divide loved him so much that in 2017, Zanu PF youths chose to ignore the much-feared then President Robert Mugabe’s speech to listen to his music instead.

It took a militant party youth leader, Innocent Hamandishe, to call the much-loved artiste to order, describing him as “nothing”.

A day later, Soul Jah Love released the song, Hachisi Chinhu, Zvinhu, an attack on Hamandishe

This is how much Sauro, as he was known in the showbiz circles, was loved by the ghetto youths.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda, Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu said: “His Excellency, the President and First Secretary of Zanu PF, Cde ED Mnangagwa has conferred a liberation hero status on the late Cde Soul Muzavazi Musaka, who passed away on February 16 at Mbuya Dorcas Hospital.

“I shall be most grateful if you would make the usual arrangements for his burial and payment of benefits to his family. He is from Harare province.”
Meanwhile, Solomon yesterday told NewsDay Life & Style that the late chanter’s COVID-19 test results were negative and the post-mortem showed that he succumbed to diabetes complications.

“We have received the COVID-19 results today (yesterday), which came out negative and the post-mortem revealed what we were suspecting, the death was caused by diabetic complications arising from his diabetic condition,” he said.

“The body is now at Nyaradzo Funeral Parlour as we prepare for burial on Saturday at 11am at Warren Park Hills in Harare. Will pick up the body tomorrow (today) around 4pm to lie in state at number 15 Mauya Drive in Msasa Park, Harare, ahead of Saturday’s (tomorrow) burial.”

Some creatives who spoke to NewsDay Life & Style welcomed the development, saying he deserved the hero status, but expressed mixed feelings over the government’s neglect of artistes during their hour of need.

Jazz musician and Zimbabwe Musician Union interim president Edith WeUtonga Katiji said artistes should not only be honoured after death.

“I am grateful and as a sector, we appreciate this hero status. However, the wait to only show up at funerals must be stopped,” she said.

“His status (hero) does not serve him any good because he is dead. He needed help while he lived and he could not access it, he needed meds [medication] and could not get them in time.”

Prominent arts promoter Benjamin Nyandoro said the gesture to bestow Soul Jah Love with hero status showed that government recognised the role of music as a vehicle for building narratives.

“Soul Jah Love’s successful career is not sheer luck, his music speaks to everyday life. Inasmuch as it can be said about many other influencers, for Soul Jah Love it was effortless. We also can’t ignore that he was ‘politically correct’ and well packaged his message that still spoke about the cries of the ghetto youths,” he said.

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