Tributes pour in after death of Zimbabwean Dancehall musician Soul Jah Love

Music enthusiasts yesterday expressed grief and condolences over the death of one of Zimbabwe’s most celebrated musicians, Soul Jah Love.

Born Soul Musaka, Soul Jah Love died on Tuesday evening at the Mbuya Dorcas Hospital in Harare. He was 31.

Soul Jah Love, popular for his energetic stage performances and hard-hitting lyrics, enchanted crowds at shows in Zimbabwe and South Africa and also toured the UK.

Trace Urban Southern Africa was one of the first platforms to send condolences after his death.

Socialite and senior arts reporter at The Herald newspaper in Zimbabwe Tafadzwa Zimoyo told the African News Agency (ANA) that Soul Jah Love rose over the years to become the epitome of the popular Zim Dancehall genre, which has dwarfed other traditional Zimbabwean music categories.

“He was the epitome of Zim Dancehall. Each song he did became a banger. Personally, he made me love the genre and his music resonates with us the ghetto people,” said Zimoyo.

He said despite the extension of the nationwide lockdown enacted by Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, several fans were loudly playing Soul Jah Love’s music in honour of the musician.

“The Zim Dancehall fans are not only shocked but they are also hurt. Because of the Covid-19 global pandemic, some fans said it is difficult for them to attend the funeral to pay their last respects.

“There are restrictions which have been put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

“People are sending their tributes on social media platforms from WhatsApp statuses to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in mourning their legend,” said Zimoyo.

Lesotho-based arts correspondent Silence Charumbira said Soul Jah Love became the “voice of the ghetto youth” in Zimbabwe.

“Soul Jah Love was a voice of the ghetto youths.

“He was authentic. His music was laden with the people’s daily struggles.

“Apart from that, he was immensely talented. One of the best performers of his generation,” said Charumbira.

“Soul Jah Love, along with a few others, are responsible for the longevity of Zim Dancehall as a product of the global dancehall genre. He was witty and his rhymes were second to none in his genre.”

Media strategist Peter BaSkye Tanyanyiwa wrote on Facebook: “Soul Jah Love deserves a hero’s send-off. The government should do the right thing.

“We know the number of people attending funerals is limited to 30.

“The least government can do is to allow the hearse carrying the remains of this icon to make final rounds, especially in the ghetto, before burial.”

On social media, one of Zimbabwe’s most popular artists, Sulu Chimbetu, wrote: “Saddened to hear of Soul Jah Love’s untimely death.

“Painful news this is. My sincere condolences to his family, the music fraternity and the generality of Zimbabwean music lovers. May his soul rest in peace.”

Jah Prayzah, arguably Zimbabwe’s leading artist, wrote: “I still cannot believe it, but who are we to reverse it. You always had a way to make everyone laugh, even when we least expected a joke from anyone, you would pull us… Rest in peace, brother”.

Zimbabwean football star Tino Kadewere, who plays for French Ligue 1 giants Olympique Lyonnais, wrote: “Sunset, a great lyricist. Rest well.”

UK-based Zimbabwean socialite and philanthropist Passion Java had earlier this week posted a video, requesting his almost 250 000 followers on Facebook to pray for Soul Jah Love.

Following the death, a distraught Java posted another video expressing condolences.

A glitzy preacher, Java has gained acclaim for promoting numerous Zimbabwean upcoming artists who are keeping southern Africans on the dance floor despite a major economic slump.

Zimbabwean hip-hop superstar Mudiwa also sent a heartfelt condolences message to thousands of his Twitter followers.

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