Thursday 2 November 2017


It was supposed to be the week that confirmed his coronation as the reigning king of Zimbabwean music. Coming hot on the heels of his chart smashing album, Kutonga Kwaro, the last week of October was supposed to see Jah Prayzah go on his victory lap, taking in the cheers and ululations of jubilant and awestruck crowds.

Instead it became his worst week as he did not just suffer embarassment but was assaulted with fists and stones. Even he, the man at the centre of the storm, is aware of it.

“This has been the worst week of my life,” the distraught Jah Prayzah confessed to H-Metro.

A fortnight ago when he unleashed Kutonga Kwaro in front of adoring thousands at the HICC, with dollar signs in his eyes as Sir Wicknell’s loud money started talking, he would not have envisioned that things would turn out this way.

It all started in Masvingo on Friday when Jah was greeted with a shower of missiles when he kept a 2 000-strong crowd waiting as he allegedly had a breakdown on the way to the venue.

“When we were passing through Mvuma, I saw a tyre from my own car overtaking me. It was scary, but we survived leading to a two hour delay,” he said as he tried to defend his late appearance.
That show was cancelled, but only after Jah was pelted by angry fans. He was to receive his second dose of violence in as many days when an angry crowd at the Castle Lager National Braai Day again made it rain, letting loose a torrent of missiles in his direction after losing patience with the Soja.

As ugly as those incidents were, they were just the tip of the iceberg. A nightmarish week turned into a hellish one after he was forced to take to his feet again, this time with mourners at his former security chief Chris Nyemba’s funeral in hot pursuit.

Overnight, Jah turned from the man who gave the country the most talked about album of the year into a joke, as social media comedians turned his misfortune into a rich source of humour.

How did this happen? How can a man who was on top only a week ago hit rock bottom the next?

In the blockbuster Hollywood movie The Dark Knight, hero turned villain Harvey Dent remarks that “you either die a hero, or live long enough to become a villain.”

Jah is learning that the same mouth that cheered for you yesterday can jeer and spit at you today. It is not yet clear why the public, at least those that attended the two shows and funeral,  suddenly turned against Zimbabwean music’s crown jewel.

According to some critics, Jah has become arrogant, treating his fans like dirt as he climbs the ladder. By coming late for shows, he is showing that he has forgotten those who helped him get on the ladder in the first place.

Tuesday’s funeral assault came after Jah’s muscle bound security details reportedly pushed mourners out of the way to allow the musician to watch the funeral proceedings from the front row, a funeral where he did not contribute a cent although he owed the man who was being buried money.

Such a display of power at a funeral where mourners are usually emotional and easily agitated, was unnecessary and simply taboo in African culture.

There is a growing sense that Jah is no longer the son of the soil from Uzumba that he was only a few years ago. For a year now, his staunchest fans have been complaining that his music has lost the traditional factor that made them fall in love with him in the first place.

Sadly, with his recent behaviour, some might start to believe that it is not only the music that has changed, but the man too. After the release of an album that infuses many urban elements, Jah is just not the same anymore, fans will no doubt cry.

The whispers of unhappiness are coming not just from the star’s fans. Those close to the star have also joined the chorus, revealing that he has become distant as he claims to be busy in meetings whenever they try to contact him.

Many are blaming his management for failing to handle the affairs of a man that is clearly the country’s biggest brand in music at the moment. Jah’s youthful management team will most likely also come into scrutiny as he tries to recover from a bruising week that saw him go from hero to zero. chronicle


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