BEFORE a single voice cracks in new song Panorwadza Moyo by Zimbabwean Dancehall King Winky D and grandmaster Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, a waft of a cold deathly air engulfs the listener.
The opening of the track encapsulates the journey one has ahead of them.
The lines of Tuku’s guitar drop and the guitar gives a deathly familiar cry. It is a weeping we have heard in tracks like Mabasa, but more profoundly in this nature, it is a weep that characterised the tearful Neria. And it comes to haunt us again – 23 years after it was first released on the track Neria in 1993.
And the subject is as relevant as ever in a nation that is losing its most productive generation at the hands of premature death in the face of disease and poverty. Death is almost every Zimbabwean’s next of kin.
Panorwadza Moyo (where the heart aches), is a track that says Zimdancehall, Winky D, and indeed the entire music industry in Zimbabwe has arrived and asserted its place as a vehicle, not only for entertainment in the nation and beyond, but also to take profound messages to the people. And in this case to God himself.
Tuku and Winky D take the brave trek into the Holy Sanctuary to confront God and ask pertinent questions. “Why do you take us down this road – this valley of death? Through this path of death and gloom? Why are we losing our fathers, brothers, sisters and grandparents while on the other hand, there is not one new life to replace them?”
The two stand their ground, firm and unnerved, asking sharp piercing questions of the divine. It takes heart wrenching tragedy to push man to the limits of questioning their God’s intentions and this is what Tuku and Winky D are faced with.
Broken to the world for the first time on Star FM’s rate it or hate it yesterday, anchor Nicola “Nikki” Dora could not help but admit that the radio station was inundated with messages on Twitter declaring the obvious. The song had hit the right chords and touched the pulse of a nation and was in sync with the people’s emotions.
It may be music, but it’s not a game anymore. While there may be other duets gunning for titles in the duet of the year category at various awards – Jah Prayzah and Diamond Platnumz, Tytan and Ammara’s Mukoko and other tracks – the maturity, planning and sheer genius in the layout of this track may just guillotine the strength of the competition. What better voice to sing about death than that of Oliver Mtukudzi? His voice is gravelly in this effort. As if he has a capsule of grit and sand in his voice box. It crackles and cries along to the harmony. His voice sounds like broken glass. Like death.
Graveyards are becoming like a regular destination, the duo mourn. As if they are places where we have placed animal traps where we regularly visit to find out whether we have any catch. Profound imagery that will leave the listener spellbound. And here, in front of God, with their guitars hung on their backs, Tuku and Winky D make their case and demand answers.
And when they finish with their last note of the song, with their last question to their God, He is bound to look down and quietly, He weeps.
Touching, profound, evil genius.