Lifting the skirt on the case against ‘sex abuser’ Jah Prayzah
IT is something that has gotten the nation and perhaps the world talking about the artiste who is arguably Zimbabwe’s man of the moment; Jah Prayzah. It was always a long time coming. The spittle on the mouth of his erstwhile Third Generation Band dancer and vocalist, Pamela Zulu, popularly known as Gonyeti, over the past few weeks, showed that she had an axe to grind with her former master. She wasn’t done speaking. Although she keenly insisted she had no hard feelings against ‘mukoma’ Jah, affectionately relating to him as a big brother, something suggested there was just one little story whose skirt was just a few fits of anger away, a breeze even, from being raised and exposed. It is an emotive issue. Jah Prayzah is the working class hero of middle Zimbabwe who is riding the crest of a wave. Having managed to recycle very monotone typical Jah Prayzah tunes to supposedly ‘create’ a ‘new’ album, he had every right to bask in the fresh wave of success coming from the Mudhara Vachauya release.
And Gonyeti has decided to rain on Jah’s parade as she recently made startling revelations of alleged sexual abuse by Jah Prayzah, including that she had to sleep with the music ace to get a job with the group.
Many people will definitely not like that. It seems the emotive thing in Zimbabwe that there are a handful of ‘anointed’ people who should not face criticism and Gonyeti will have to bear the brunt of facing a name calling group of critics.
Jah Prayzah is a darling, but that should not be a distraction from the very serious issue at hand which will have big implications.
Similarly, some will be at the other side of the fence calling for women to be respected, especially in the arts, where tales of sexual abuse are rampant.
For the record, Jah Prayzah remains innocent until proven guilty-or otherwise in spite of Pamela alleging she had to give the boss ‘ some’ to get a job. However, there is already one thing for which he is terribly culpable and should redress in the ‘female’ department of his band-either directly or indirectly. An interesting look at his group reveals how the women in Third Generation Band are seen for perhaps their sexuality as opposed to their talent. Gonyeti, a big framed luscious sensual ‘typical’ African woman, who also can sing and dance. Generator, whom Gonyeti replaced, also large, ignites a fire and guarantees electricity. Oh, and she too can sing and dance. And the replacement for Gonyeti is, wait for it, Excavator. A big earth mover that digs deep into the warm burrow of the earth and shakes the ground while it is at it. It’s a trait. It seems the talent is an afterthought. They are not called Nightingale, or The Voice or Blackbird, anything that suggests an ability to sing. While Jah Prayzah may not have directly been head of the naming ceremony of these women who are interestingly all ‘built’ the same, allowing them to be identified by names with sexual connotations as opposed to their true talents – their voices – makes him culpable. He should have learnt from the best. Oliver Mtukudzi is not a clean man. But ‘his’ women have always been identified with dignity in the Black Spirits. Mwendakanyi ‘Mwendy’ Chibindi, Cecelia Ndlovu, Namatayi Mubariki. They have been voices that have passed through his hands. Certainly he could have also called them anything else. ‘Chikendikeke’. MaScones. Chitima. Instead, he devoted suggestive name-calling to his lyrics when he dedicates his music to Daisy- Svovi Yangu. Jah should never allow sexually explicit naming of his artistes under his watch because it exposes him to scrutiny. Because his generation is no longer the old generation of people who used to be actresses hired for the tantalising physical traits but for their talent. Is it not the reason after all, why his band is called the Third Generation Band? – @zimrobbie
Pamela Zulu aka Gonyeti