Jonathan Mbiriyamveka Harare Bureau
SOME music fans were at the weekend seriously injured in a stampede that occurred at the much-hyped Sting 2014 held at City Sports Centre in Harare.Several show goers escaped with bruises while others dislocated their hips and ankles in a melee caused by police when they fired teargas into the packed auditorium during the tune-for-tune Zim dancehall battle.
Partson “Chipaz” Chimbodza, the organiser of the show has since apologised for the incident but referred all questions to the police. There were rumours that some people had died in the stampede but officials from police homicide department said they had not received such information
Pandemonium broke out and windows at the venue were shattered as the fans fled from the scene.
Some unscrupulous show-goers seized the opportunity and hit the cash register at the bar and made off with some cash as well as beverages.
A photo journalist Tsitsi Ndabambi was rushed to hospital in Warren Park where she was treated with serious injuries.
Trouble started when Zim dancehall rivals – Seh Calaz and Soul Jah Love – who were the main acts took to the stage in the early hours of Sunday.
After dropping only three songs each, the crowd went wild and started throwing cans and empty bottles on stage 15 minutes into the two-hour scheduled performance.
According to contracts gleaned by our Harare Bureau, both artistes were supposed to leave the stage once the overzealous fans started throwing cans at them. Both Seh Calaz and Soul Jah Love were “bottled” during their sets.
But for some obscure reason Soul Jah Love confronted Seh Calaz who was already making his way to the backstage.
A scuffle then ensured and the bouncers had to restrain Soul Jah Love from fighting Seh Calaz. In the midst of all that there were sporadic fights among the fans.
As the situation got worse, the police fired teargas and all hell broke loose.
Outside the fracas, the performing artistes gave their all at Sting 2014 with the likes of Badman who was dressed like an undertaker.
Badman thrilled his fans when he brought to stage an empty coffin apparently meant for use at the burial of his rival Jiggaz.
His efforts did not go unnoticed as he proved too much for Jiggaz who went down fighting. However, the good thing was the two shook hands after their sterling act in the spirit of the gig which condemned violence.
Another hotly contested battle was among the three ladies, Lady Squanda, Bounty Lisa and X-Patriot.
The lyrical battle between Lady Squanda and Bounty Lisa degenerated into a fight after Lady Squanda spit some obscenities. The First Lady of Conquering Family would have none of that and she like her partner Soul Jah Love was obviously to blame for the skirmishes.
There were also fireworks from other artistes among them Freeman, Kinna and Ras Caleb of the Tokwe-Mukosi hit. Another surprise act was Killer T of the isu hatiite zvemagroup fame.
Also known as the chairman by his adoring fans, Killer T literally begged Chipaz to perform at the show in what observers said was a major climbdown.
Killer T had a fallout with Chipaz after he accused him of being an uncouth music promoter. However, he has since apologised to Chipaz.
Meanwhile, Seh Calaz yesterday said he owes his fans big time after his clash with Soul Jah Love held at City Sports Centre ended prematurely.
Seh Calaz whose real name is Tawanda Mumanyi said it was regrettable that after working so hard in the build up to Sting 2014, the show was stopped after violence broke out.
“As I was warming up to the battle just only 15 minutes into the set, it was sad that show had to be stopped due to violence. We’ve been campaigning against violence at Zim dancehall shows in the run up to Sting 2014 but it appears the fans didn’t heed our call. I still feel we didn’t give fans value for their money,” Seh Calaz said.
The “Check check” singer said he would not claim victory over his rival Soul Jah Love because of the abrupt end.
“As much as I would want to win that contest. I think it’s only fair to say that there was no clear winner. In fact I would say it was 50-50. If anyone claims victory they would be lying to themselves,” he said.
Much more than a clash, Sting 2014 provided a platform for artistes to sharpen their skills on stage.