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Zimbabwe: One Year On – Reflections On Soul Jah Love’s Life

It's one year and one day after the death of popular multi-award winning Zimdancehall sensation Soul Jah Love, real name Soul Muzavazi Musaka.

The talented chanter succumbed to diabetes at the age of 31 last year.

He was declared a liberation hero and was buried next to his father at Warren Hills Cemetery.

His father, Ephraim Ticharwa Musaka, passed away on the 18 February 2005 and was a liberation war veteran who served as a ZIPRA intelligence officer.

Soul Jah Love's fans often called him by the Shona version of his name, Sauro or "Chibaba" as they regarded him as the godfather of Zimdancehall.

Some fans believed that Soul Jah Love, though he was diabetic, somehow knew that his days were numbered as evidenced by some of the singles he released in his last days.

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The musician's friend and colleague, Tendai Marara, revealed in an interview recently that Soul Jah Love saw his death coming in December in 2020.

"On 17 December, 2020 when he had his show in South Africa, he called me around 5AM. I missed his calls and when I called back, he said he needed to talk to me," said Marara.

"He then said to me I want to bid farewell to my family and friends because I dreamt that I had died and I (Marara) was present at the funeral."

Some still find it hard to believe how true that is, but after listening to some of the songs Soul Jah Love composed, one can tell that he knew he was drawing nearer to his demise.

Or perhaps his songs were just inspired by societal settings.

The "Pamamonya Ipapo" hitmaker, despite being a ghetto boy or a "chigunduru" as he always wanted to refer to himself, was a unifier, talented and a creative genius in his own right, especially on lyrical content.

With such background from the streets, who knew he could collaborate with some of the hottest musicians like Tamy Moyo, Queen Vee, Guspy Warrior, Jah Signal and Ngonie Kambarami.

But what made Soul Jah Love tick?

Well, some fans described him as an entertainer or great performer, as he was both.

By this they meant he was a capable genius who even if he just shouted his signature wall cry, fans could respond by jumping, screaming or ululating.

There is no doubt that fans will continue to dearly miss Chibaba.

Social media yesterday was awash with some eulogies from fans and other artistes who worked with Soul Jah Love.

Enzo Ishall even posted a video of him and Ras Pompy recorded last year where they did a freestyle tribute of some of the songs by Soul Jah Love in front of a crowd.

Benjamin Nyandoro, who worked with Soul Jah Love as his manager, said as part of remembering him, he was in the process of working on his life documentary.

"As we celebrate the life of Soul Jah Love, we first say may his soul rest in peace. Great thoughts should go to the preservation of legacy. I am in communication with the Trustees and believe that there is scope to achieve. They are keen and eager to get the right people together to give eternal honour to Soul Jah Love," said Nyandoro.

Fellow musician Tamy Moyo, the last musician to have worked with Soul Jah Love, said she misses him greatly.

"Well, I always say if there's anything I aspire to be like Soul Jah Love is being confident in myself and my artistry enough to a point where what others think isn't even a factor anymore," she said.

"He taught me to be true to myself. He was a genius and never for a second apologised for it. He knew that he filled his own space as an artiste and no one could be like him.

"I also admire how he acknowledged God through all his experiences. I miss his sense of humour. Above all, he was hilarious."

Prominent Zimdancehall producer Rodger Tafadzwa Kadzimwe, affectionately known as Levels, said he misses the funny side of Soul Jah Love.

"It's one year now and I still find it hard to believe that he is no more," said Levels.

"He deserved to be celebrated every day. I have worked with Soul Jah Love on more than 30 songs and we have produced more than 15 hit songs.

"I have more than six songs yet to be released. He died before they were processed. I miss working with Soul Jah Love. He was a funny character. In the studio, he was someone who made jokes. He was a musician who made my studio sessions easy.

"The plans we had were to release the unreleased songs one by one. Though he's gone, I will finish off the work, making sure his music lives on."

Artmotion S.Africa

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