Tag Archives: music

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.

Madness

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!

South African hip hop artist Cassper earns legend status

As if filling up a 20 000 seater Coca Cola Dome in Soweto or a 60 000 seater Orlando stadium is a stroll in the veld, try this for size : Cassper filled up a 90 000 seater football stadium in addition to those feats ! Well not quite ; though he did sell 72 000 tickets and brought throngs of excited fans along for the history making show.Few African artists have been stadium fillers. This is a rarified space which has in the past been inhabited by international acts such as Bruce Springsteen and Eminem.

Picture from Instagram

Cassper’s feat has earned him the respect of peers and entertainment industry elders such as the legendary impresario of the African house music and the power behind the careers of pan African groups such as Mafikizolo, Bongomaffin and Boomshaka DJ Oskido (real name Oscar Mdlongwa, the boss of Kalawa Jazmee)

Picture from Instagram

Cassper was born Refiloe Maele Phoolo into a middle class South African family. Dropping out of school at 16 to pursue his music dream in the bright lights of Johannesburg must have sounded like a nightmare to his teacher parents.The odds seemed bleak… On Saturday night 68 000 fans turned up for the spectacular show that has helped the 27 year old hip hop artist and boss of independent label Family Tree Records make history. Perhaps reminiscing about his days paying his dues as a backing dancer for popular hip hop artists of the day such as HHP (whom he paid homage to before the pumped up crowd),  Cassper ‘kinged’ it. But did he ever think that one day he would be compared with the likes of Bruce Springsteen in the annals of pop music history as a big stadium drawcard?

Theatre of dreams

Picture from Instagram

The venue of last Saturday’s concert was the architectural masterpiece that is the FNB stadium which played host to the 2010 World Cup final. An aerial view of the stadium reveals an inspirational and evocative design achievement in the calabash design of the stadium. The very idea of a design inspired by African motifs and iconography is fundamental to the proliferation and proper monetisation of African cultural artefacts and Art in general. The Nyovest gig has been hailed by the country’s Arts Minister Nathi Mthethwa:  “On behalf of @ArtsCultureSA I wish you all the best as you make your mark and start a new chapter in South Africa’s music history tonight. You continue to inspire future generations of African musicians to be limitless in their pursuit of excellence”and for “using his platform to encourage the youth to preserve and promote African arts and culture.”

The path to glory

Picture from Instagram

The campaign to fill up the stadium ran for several months on social media mainly.Corporate support for the gig was begging initially till right upto the very last moment. Cassper was on social media grumbling about how “they dont want to support us” in refernce to corporate South Africa. In an interview with DJ Sbu (another serious entrepreneur owner of the MoFaya energy drink and Massiv Metro radio station) Cassper broke down the total cost of the show which saw him go broke as per his own word and selling four Rolex watches. Of course that fact alone I found bemusing considering the lot of Zimbo musicians. A Rolex watch can set you back close to R60 000 per piece. Still, Cassper claimed in the interview that it would cost him 15 million rand to put the show together. It cost 2 million rand to book stadium, 5,2million rand for the stage design ( by a company based in Cape Town), 1 million rands for traditional marketing and 500 000 rands for supporting acts.

It takes a village to raise an African child

Picture from Instagram

For a moment, it seemed that Cassper was going it alone but for the support of the likes of famous house music don Oskido of Kalawa Jazmee records, fellow rapper Riky Rik, Black Coffee and other celebs such as actress Pearl Thusi who came out in support buying tickets. Oskido bought R50 000 worth of tickets whilst Riky Rik bought R20 000 worth of tickets. All of sudden, the campaign for the show reached a groundswell and the corporate world jumped in. Ciroc, Budweiser, SABC. South Africa’s Department of Arts and Culture and Standard Bank came on board to help underwrite the gig. Standard Bank actually broke protocol by sponsoring a gig at rival bank branded stadium.

Business comes to the party

The corporate head of retail marketing Tinyiko Mageza at Standard Bank offered his sentiments about the Cassper gig: “Cassper Nyovest has challenged young South Africans to unapologetically chase their next big dreams, their next big deals and their next big wins, and we are inspired and excited to be part of this adventure. For Standard Bank it doesn’t matter where your NEXT may happen or how big it may seem, we really just want to be a partner as you steer your life to greatness.” The Standard Bank involved an undisclosed amount of money plus extensive marketing support and advertising. The bank also gave away free tickets that it had bought to fans. Incidentally, Standard Bank has a promotional campaign entitled ‘What’s Your Next?’“We are here to support a young African artist, Cassper Nyovest, to show that anything is possible.We are here to show that no matter how big or audacious, bold or daring your next step is you can really make it happen if you have the right partners co-piloting with you and helping you stir your life to greatness.As a country, we followed Cassper’s journey from one ‘next’ to the other For us it represented the epitome of what a ‘next’ is all about. As a bank, in May we put our hands up and asked the question to all South Africans, ‘What is your next?’,” said Mageza.

A night to remember

Picture from Instagram

The stage with two giant lions flanking it was designed by Daniel Popper a Cape Town based artist. The lighting was superlative and worthy of a galaxy of African stars who take their Art seriously. The show included a Somizi Mhlongo choreographed 50 dancer show piece by Cassper alone. Some of South Africa’s top artistes Kwesta, Major League,Babes Wodumo, current hit makers Distruction Boyz, DJ Tira, (Zimbabwean rapper )Nadia Nakai, Somizi, Riky Rick and Tshepo Tshola featured to help make the show a grand musical affair. They didn’t need American musical imports to fill the stadium on this Saturday night and the tag line of Brand South Africa- Proudly South African was totally earned. Hit after hit was churned out by Cassper and his coterie of fellow artists with songs such as ‘Mama I made it’, ‘Tito Mboweni’ and others by Babes Wodumo thrilling the multi-ethnic and multi-racial fans.The generation of artists such as Cassper is clearly standing on the shoulders of giants that have gone before him such as the late Lucky Dube and Miriam Makeba.

Has Cassper Nyovest not given South African audiences a moment of showbiz magic with his recent FillUpTheFNB concert? Has he not rewritten the script for African artists in the process in terms of how far to reach when pursuing the singular goal of global fame?
Apparently, Cassper calls him himself  Mufasa – Lion king. Is he the lion of African pop culture ? Pundits would be hard pressed to deny him the title especially if he pulls off the #FillUpMosesMabhidha gig he is now eyeing for 2018.

ALL FEMALE ENSEMBLE SHINES AT ALBUM LAUNCH

Nobuntu "Ekhaya" album launch in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (pic by Multimedia Box)

Nobuntu “Ekhaya” album launch in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (pic by Multimedia Box)

 

 

Imbube (accappella) female ensemble Nobuntu delivered an inspired music and dance set this past week on the back of their world tour that saw them perform in Austria, Germany, Canada amongst a few others. The group has performed to hundreds of adoring fans who cannot get enough of the female vocal ensemble’s inspired vocalising steeped in traditional Nguni harmonies and traditions. As an imbube group,Nobuntu, which began its journey a few years ago under the creative direction of Dumisani ‘Ramadu’ Moyo is growing in terms of influence having had a video of one of their songs ‘Narini’ top the Zambezi Magic Top ten Zimbabwe videos on DSTV.Nobuntu was also nominated for Best Musician of the year in 2015 at the Zimbabwe International Women Awards 2015. Ekhaya is their second album and it marks growth for the ensemble showcasing their strongest vocal lineup to date in Zanele Manhenga,Joyline Sibanda,Heather Dube, Duduzile Sibanda and Thandi. A few days ago Nobuntu delivered a well received show in the country’s second largest city in an event that marks the beginning of their national tour.The event had the sizeable multi-hued audience celebrating the cultural pride this group exhibited. Nobuntu tour will culminate in a tour of Italy (Interview and album review to follow)