Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
ZANU-PF national youth league commissar Innocent Hamandishe was right after all, Soul Jah Love is one undisciplined and unprofessional fellow.
When Hamandishe dressed down the artiste in Mutare a few months back at the President’s Youth Interface Rally for disturbing proceedings, many bashed the youth leader for berating their idol and belittling him. They could not be bothered if Hamandishe was justified or not for putting Jah Love in his place.
And now, months down the line, it seems Hamandishe was right after all for describing Jah Love as a chinhu (small fish) as the artiste continues damaging his brand by being irresponsible and constantly not turning up for shows. If he does, he is never on time — at times pitching up at 5AM — a day later at a show he will have been scheduled to perform at about 11PM the previous day.
This tomfoolery overshadowed his album release last weekend which could have easily been the talk of town in preparation for the launch on October 21.
Though his image seemed to have changed for the better with the artiste now under the management of professional Jive Zimbabwe’s Benjamin Nyandoro and slick edgy suits which he is now donning, the artiste has not changed as he is still the same Soul Jah Love who does not fulfil shows, especially outside Harare.
Recently, he angered fans in Kadoma when he failed to turn up at Odyssey Night Club. He was the main act and was due to perform songs off his new album — Ndofirapo that had been released in Harare on the same night. After realising they had been taken for a ride, the nightclub plunged into a war zone as fans pelted the stage with beer bottles, cans and stones. Because of his actions the amount of property that was damaged went into the thousands of dollars. Resorting to violence by fans does not solve the problem and it is Soul Jah Love’s lack of respect for them that should be addressed.
Not even a feeble apology for any of the missed shows has been uttered by Jah Love as he carries on with his life, while his actions leave a trail of destruction. In all this, who is supposed to pay for the damage to property and loss of revenue?
Nyandoro did not give an explanation on why his artiste acts that way saying he has buried the hatchet on the Kadoma issue and instead, preferred to talk about the artiste’s forthcoming album launch.
“I’ve engaged the relevant stakeholders with regards to the Kadoma gig. For now, my energy is on Soul Jah Love’s album launch,” said Nyandoro.
What is surprising about the Kadoma no-show is that, Soul Jah Love’s band had arrived hours before and was just waiting for the artiste to arrive so they take to the stage. Even more worrying is that at times, Soul Jah Love will pitch up at a venue but still not take to the stage as was the case at a show in Bulawayo two years ago. Again violence reared its ugly head when angry fans stoned Palace Hotel after Chibaba refused to come out of the hotel room. This was despite the promoter’s efforts of travelling to Harare to fetch the artiste to ensure that he is in Bulawayo in time for the show. Undoubtedly, the only person who has brought Jah Love to book is Mutare businessman, Isau Mupfumi who filed charges of fraud against Soul Jah Love which led to his arrest two years ago. This was after Soul Jah Love failed to perform at his Pick and Save venue on two occasions. Details emerged that Soul Jah Love failed to perform because he was stone drunk.
Soul Jah Love should learn that his bad boy image will one day cost him big. Fans whom he has continuously taken for granted will not attend his shows because of past experiences.
“Soul Jah Love should be careful with the way he’s doing things. To many promoters he’s an unreliable act, who’ll go AWOL on you at the last minute. In my opinion, he’s the second biggest Zimdancehall artiste in terms of popularity right behind Winky D.
“But the way he’s doing things, no one will care about him in the near future,” said Mduduzi Mdlongwa of 3D Events.
However, there might be light at the end of the tunnel as Nyandoro seems to be keeping a tight leash on Soul Jah Love. This was witnessed by Mdlongwa after they hosted the chanter recently at Club Connect in Bulawayo. The artiste came and performed.
“When he was here in August, I was dealing with Benji who had a tight leash on him. He made it on stage on time though he arrived at the venue way after his band and got me stressed for a while.
“Surprisingly, Soul Jah Love wanted to perform for a second time, but his manager refused,” said Mdlongwa.
He advised Soul Jah Love to however find a way to manage himself and desist from bunking shows as he is burdening promoters.
“The promoter bears all the cost for the damages by fans. I experienced it when Black Motion came late last year and people pelted the stage and damaged property. We had to pay some of the costs as 3D so Soul Jah Love in the long run, will really be costly if he continues bunking shows leading to vandalism,” he said.