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Winky D "Dissapear" (YouTube)

10 Zimbabwean Dancehall Artists You Should Know

These are the musicians behind Zimbabwe's massive dancehall scene.

Dancehall music is arguably the biggest genre in Zimbabwe right now.

The vibrant music has steadily gained a massive following and widespread popularity especially among the youth and it's the norm to hear various hits blasting from the speakers of public transport on the streets of cities like Harare.

Zimbabwe's brand of dancehall originally has its roots in reggae and was largely influenced by the likes of Bob Marley and his performances in 1980. Zimbabwe had just obtained independence from the British and it's no surprise that the music released by dancehall artists of that time, the likes of Major E and Booker T, had a Jamaican-style lyricism to it.

Fast-forward to present day and Zimbabwean dancehall has almost abandoned its reggae influence. Instead, artists have opted for singing and rapping in vernacular languages such as Shona and Ndebele coupled with computer-generated beats that create a distinct local flavour that sets Zimbabwean dancehall apart from the dancehall produced in other countries.

As with a lot of the music that's been largely produced under the Mugabe-era, dancehall has also not shied away from highlighting the economic and socio-political issues facing many Zimbabweans daily.

From veteran artists such as Winky D to fresh talent including Tocky Vibes and Lady Squanda, Zimbabwean dancehall shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. And so we put together a list of the 10 Zimbabwean Dancehall Artists You Should Know below.

This list is in no particular order.


Winky D

Winky D has been around since the inception of Zimbabwean dancehall in its present form back in the early 2000s. Often referred to as the 'King of Dancehall,' he's put out several hit songs including "Musarove Bigiman," "Paita Party" as well as "Bassline Rock" which was a collaboration he did with Jamaican dancehall musician Hawkeye.

Lady Squanda

Lady Squanda is undoubtedly the leading lady in the male-dominated Zimbabwean dancehall scene. While she has put out several hits including "Ndinovhaira" and "Bhaisikopo", a track she did with fellow dancehall artist Freeman. Having drawn inspiration from female Jamaican reggae artist Lady Saw, Lady Squanda has often come under fire particularly for her use of "provocative" language in many of her songs.

Soul Jah Love

Soul Jah Love is definitely one of the more popular dancehall artists and shot to fame after putting out "Ndini Uya Uya," "Gum Kum," and "Pamamonya Ipapo." The musician is also known for his beef with veteran sungura artist Alick Macheso and while rumours of a collaboration between the two (in an effort to squash the beef) have been hanging in the air for years now, fans of both musicians really shouldn't hold their breath.

Killer T

Killer T burst onto the dancehall scene after he released the popular tracks "Makarova Ganaz," "Itai Ndione," "Hauterere," and "Tavakuda Kumbofarawo". While the young artist has enjoyed overwhelming success following his debut project, he has however received criticism for his latest album Mashoko Anopfuura with fans reportedly struggling to connect with it in the same way they did his previous work.

Empress Shelly

Empress Shelly initially started out making music with fellow musician Badman. However, after he relocated to South Africa, Empress Shelly embarked on a solo career in 2013 and then went on to win "Best Female Artist" at the Zimbabwe Dancehall Awards the following year. Some of her popular tracks include "Misodzi Yangu," "Fresh and Clean" as well as "Mufare".

Seh Calaz

In 2013, Seh Calaz officially stepped into the music industry following the release of his track "Mabhanditi." While the song itself caused quite a stir and went viral, it didn't receive any airplay on local radio stations. His follow-up track "Mumota Murikubvira," which was an ode to marijuana, was extremely popular and received ample airplay on several local radio stations in Zimbabwe. Seh Calaz is definitely one to watch.

Tocky Vibes

Tocky Vibes jumped into the spotlight back in 2014 after he released his hit single "Mhai." The heartfelt track spoke about a young man leaving home in search of his big break in the city but always making sure to remember his mother and her well-wishes for his life. The song resonated with many Zimbabweans and allowed the artist and his newfound success to go on to release several other hits including "African Queen" and "Tushiri."

Daruler

Daruler or 'mambokadzi' (which translates to 'queen') as she's popularly known, started out doing backing vocals for Lady Squanda on her track "Rudo." Thereafter, she was mentored by fellow dancehall artist Freeman and went on to produce a slew of popular tracks including "Mangoma Hatimire," "Pemberera Life" and "Ndakanyarara."

Freeman

Similar to Winky D, Freeman is a veteran of Zimbabwean dancehall. His debut track "Joiner City" catapulted him into the spotlight where he has since stayed and produced numerous hits such as "Shaina Mwana Iwe," "Doctor Wemagitare," and "Handina Godo." Unlike Soul Jah Love, Freeman has collaborated with Alick Macheso and their joint track "Ngaibake" became quite popular. Additionally, he's also collaborated with the majority of Zimbabwe's dancehall artists.

Jah Prayzah

While some may argue that Jah Prayzah has pivoted towards Afropop in recent years, a large part of his music career has been in dancehall. Known for his signature aesthetic of wearing military regalia, Jah Prayzah or 'Musoja' as he is often referred to by his fans, is perhaps the most successful cross-over artist who's not only popular with Zimbabweans in the country but abroad as well. His numerous hit songs include "Dangerous," "Ngwarira Kuparara," and "Sendekere," a track he did with South African Afropop duo Mafikizolo.

News Brief
Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

The Omicron Variant Was Detected In Europe a Week Before It Was Identified In South Africa

Let's see how the world scrambles to backtrack on their blatant attempts at making COVID-19 Africa's disease.

Surprise! It turns out that the latest COVID-19 variant first identified by South African scientists (which the world had no problem then blaming them for) was first detected in The Netherlands — a full week before it caught wind in Africa.

The Omicron variant was identified in retests of samples taken between November 19 and 23, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) announced on Tuesday. So, the variant existed in Europe before it was reported in Africa - do you think Europe is about to be locked away from the rest of the world? The answer will probably not surprise you.

Continue for original story below (published November 30, 2021)

If there's one thing Western media is going to do, it's going to make African countries out to be the bad, irresponsible kids on the team.

Last week, South African scientists informed the globe that they had discovered and identified a new variant of the COVID-19 virus, which the World Health Organization went on to name Omicron. The variant's influence and characteristics are yet to be understood, as leading scientists in South Africa — and across the world — scramble to understand the next layer of the COVID-19 virus. It also means that it is impossible to dictate exactly where the variant originated from.

The news broke, and the world began to panic, with the brash reactions manifesting as a near-global travel ban, to and from South Africa, over fears of the latest variant. The almost immediate ostracization has resulted in hordes of foreign nationals within South Africa being "stranded", and South African citizens abroad not being able to get back home.

The Omicron strain was identified in neighboring country Botswana at the same time, but among a group of foreign diplomatic visitors, with two ministers warning Western onlookers from "geo-politicizing this virus". Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera went on to openly accuse Western countries of "Afrophobia" for shutting their borders with such haste, and in a manner that seems as if they've been waiting for the opportunity to do so. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Regional Director on the African continent said, "With the Omicron variant now detected in several regions of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity." Israel announced over the weekend that they would enforce travel bans on all African countries... except those which reside in North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, etc). U.S Governor Greg Abbott received backlash after ignorantly tweeting on Sunday that, "Immigrants have recently been apprehended crossing our border illegally from South Africa."

According to Reuters, South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and relevant parties have requested an urgent sitting this Friday with WHO's working group on virus evolution, to discuss the new variant and what this could mean for this next phase of the global pandemic. South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has urged the countries that have implemented travel bans on the country to rethink and ultimately lift them, vocalizing his disappointment in the ease with which world leaders are prepared to shut African countries out of an issue we are experiencing as a global unit. Ramaphosa also argued that the bans would not successfully stop the transmission of the newer variant, "The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic," he said.

This is not the first time that South Africa has been held liable for a newly discovered variant of the COVID-19 virus. Last December, a Beta variant was detected in the Southern African country and the world reacted in a similar way — inappropriately. Claims that the newly identified variant is the most dangerous are irresponsible are simply not true — scientists have little to no real information on how this variant may affect people, as it has just been discovered.

Informed individuals and social media warriors alike took to their handheld devices to set the records straight, with some congratulating South Africa's team for being responsible in their handling of a global pandemic. Even Piers Morgan got it right.


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