Just like the hit Kutonga Kwaro predicted, a hero (gamba) has just emerged in Zimbabwe and introduced new rules engagement.
Also on Friday, soon after being sworn in at the National Sports Stadium, President Emmerson Mnangagwa — who has been touted as the protagonist in the title track of Jah Prayzah’s latest album — promised to make Zimbabwe work again.
And true to another national favourite Mudhara (a powerful father figure) Achauya, which praises a vicious lion (Shumba inoruma), Mnangagwa recently made a triumphant return to Zimbabwe after weeks in exile to land the most powerful post in Zimbabwe.
Not surprisingly, since November 18 when Zimbabweans flooded the streets of Harare in historic demonstrations that significantly contributed to former president Robert Mugabe’s resignation last Tuesday, Jah Prayzah’s two hits have been the indisputable theme songs of the unfolding new political dispensation.
In addition to the historic anti-Mugabe march, Jah Prayzah’s music also spilled into the ruling party Zanu PF’s central committee on Sunday. After Mugabe was unseated and Mnangagwa installed as his replacement, supporters of Zimbabwe’s new president animatedly sang the hit Kutonga Kwaro as they celebrated at Zanu PF headquarters led by Mabel Chinomona.
The Uzumba-born music star’s domination of the political space continued at Mnangagwa’s inauguration where Jah Prayzah was repeatedly asked to perform the song Kutonga Kwaro throughout the festivities.
The way his music is resonating with the political changes engulfing the nation, has led many to suggest that Jah Prayzah composed the two hits in consultation with Mnangagwa and his supporters who cheekily renamed the title track of the music star’s latest album Kutonga Kwaro Garwe.
Mnangagwa is widely known by the moniker Garwe.
But Jah Prayzah, who ironically is the ambassador of the Constantino Chiwenga-led Zimbabwe Defence Forces who deposed Mugabe from power, continues to claim that his music has no political connotations and that, more importantly, he has no links with the newly sworn-in president.
Interestingly, Jah Prayzah’s 2015 album Jerusarema was officially launched by none other than Mnangagwa himself.
In a recent tweet, the music star, who was in South Africa for the African Leaders 4 Change Awards, celebrated the endorsement of his music over the past week but was quick to emphasise that he has no political interest.
“I am not a politician, I am a simple Zimbabwean musician but the feeling inside cannot be contained. Thank you Jesus,” he tweeted.
In an interview with the Daily News on Sunday, Jah Prayzah’s manager, Keen Mushapaidze, said they have been delighted by how the artiste’s music has been overwhelmingly accepted all over Zimbabwe.
He, however, insisted that Jah Prayzah’s music is not political.
“Good music is open to varying interpretations. Music fans see different things in the same song. It is up to the people to interpret our music the way they want. We have of course been pleasantly surprised and delighted that Zimbabweans have found our music to be relevant to changes taking place in our country,” Mushapaidze said.
In August this year, Mushapaidze told this paper that they welcomed the controversy that Jah Prayzah continues to attract.
“Art is out there to inspire people to talk. What we do as artistes is interpreted in different ways by different people. It only means you are still creative if people come up with various meanings to what you give them. It should never be too obvious,” he said.
Given the way Jah Prayzah’s music is dominating the country’s airwaves and dance floors, many will probably not remember that the musician was under siege from people aligned to the pro-Mugabe G40 faction who alleged that he was singing music meant to promote Mnangagwa.
The animosity from the G40 underlings was so intense that he received threats from The Children of War Veterans led by one Munyaradzi Shoko who accused Jah Prayzah of fanning Zanu PF party factional politics.
At the beginning of this month he was assaulted at the burial of his former chief of security Chris Nyemba at Glen Forest Cemetery by people allegedly sympathetic to the pro-Mugabe G40 faction.