State of the Culture : The Winky D case

So on the 24th of December Winky D, Zimbabawe’s foremost musical juggernaut of the present moment and dancehall music hitmaker  was the victim of a madding crowd in Kwekwe, small town in the country’s midlands province, the land of a so called terror gang?

picture courtesy of Winky D Facebook timeline


But what actually happened in Kwekwe? Was it a case of a prima donna who stretched his luck and earned the wrath of music lovers by delaying his entrance?

The footage available on You Tube of Zimbabwe’s number one showman in the fiasco in Kwekwe makes cringe worthy watching. In the first nineteen seconds is a cacophony of sounds as Winky D stands surrounded by civilians and military police in their custom red berets and fatigues. Was the military police part of the security for the day or just out for a good time? The girls are shrieking (though one can’t see them) as Winky D seems to be psyching himself up. Then the thugs start pelting.


The video gets blurry. Whoever was filming must have been trying to duck from the missiles and most likely bottles being hurled. Someone is heard saying ‘Arohwa musoro here or words to that effect’. Then the footage ends. I want to know what the gallant military men then did in the melee. Who had the nerve to unleash terror in the soldiers’ awesome presence? What drink do the brave ones actually drink to ‘wanna be starting something’ when the soldiers’ own police are around? So many questions?

The media

One narrative says that Winky D provoked the ire of music lovers by going on stage late. The other says that his presence in Kwekwe a renowned place of terror and prowling ground for the bad and the ugly was in itself suicidal given the place’s history with political violence. The latter narrative lends itself to the idea of a musician who has fallen foul of the powers that be and their fiendish sympathizers at ground zero. The reason for the bull’s eye on his back would be the song Kajecha which is interpreted to imply criticism of the ruling Zanu PF and support for the MDC. All these theories are moot at present and the efforts to get a hold of Winky D’s manager directly have proved fruitless except the following on the artist’s Facebook page post:

“We realised how the noblest energies could be subverted in the name of expedience, how narrow interests could be used against a collective expression of a ghetto discontent constituted artist voice.
I am sure that cheap versions of “absolute truths” are already being peddled. Programmed applauders of everything anti-Winky D should realise that this is no longer the perceived musical beef terrain, (haisi kids game) but real life situations, wherein, had the worst happened, we could have been writing this near the smoke or harmony of a funeral procession.The story being sold that the artist arrived late for the performance is far from the truth. It’s a falsehood meant to spoil the truth. As always, the artist was on time and ready to perform as per allocated time, his performance was supposed to start at 2:30 and the 0345am being peddled around, is a time at which the artist and his crew were in the midst of scurrying for dear life…”

The aftermath

The following morning Winky D tweets in his official account that he is safe together with his band Vigilance. The Vigilant ones managed to escape the daring assault by a madding crowd who risked even pelting military men! Zimbabwe is becoming more and more volatile when we have civilians being as bold as pelting a person surrounded by military police. But what was the trigger for the riot at King Solomon’s Hotel owned reportedly by one Mr. Solomon Matsa? Sadly, the news filtering through indicates that his place was damaged in the violence. I wonder if he has security cameras. It now seems that security cameras are a must for places where crowds gather. The footage would come in handy should the police be acting to arrest the assailants.

Money motive?

Some of the reports have it that the crowd was not amused when the show’s admission charges changed from $10 to US$10 and that they were upset furthermore that Winky D appeared on stage at 3.45am. The bill had a number of other performers however as curtain raisers with Winky D as the head line act. As one would expect, people got hurt in the melee. But what sort of raging beast was it that bedeviled the Kwekwe show?  This would be the second time a musician of note has suffered crowd violence. Jah Prayzer experienced similar violence at the burial of his deceased former band member. He ran like the wind to escape the ravenous crowd. Why were the people mad at him?

A violent and cowardly society

Musicians are increasingly becoming game meat for those with scores to settle. I believe that it is really a tricky time to be living in this country. Nothing seems to be working except violence against political opponents. Maybe that’s an exaggeration but here is my worry; we are a long way from healing a broken land when influential politicians such as Zanu PF youth leader the 52 year old Pupurayi Togarepi can tweet that they will no longer tolerate those who ‘provoke’ them.  There are also those in the country’s main opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change who have also demonstrated a disturbing prediliction for violence (as in the attack on former party deputy leader Thokozani Khupe case being but one example).

When Zanu PF youth leadership tweets that they will be ‘taking no prisoners’ the English here actually means that there will be no need to take prisoners because they will be dead as in war situations! Well it is important to pay attention to the way people use language to advance agendas. Ultimately, this animal called violence cannot and should not be boasted about. It is reckless. I recommend that we adopt the practice of respectfully objecting to people who see differently. There are really no spoils in a civil conflagration. I fear that someday the proverbial waters will break and it is not a child this society gives birth to but the very spawn of Satan!

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