Sharuko on Saturday
FOR millions of fans around the world, who have been part of the Prince bandwagon for about four decades — doves crying in purple rain and everything that made it fashionable to follow the iconic American superstar artiste — music died on Thursday.
Prince Rogers Nelson, the multi-talented singer, song writer, record producer, fashion icon and actor known simply as Prince, who for about 40 years, helped transform the face of global music and commanded a massive following across the world, died at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota on Thursday.
His sudden death, at the age of 57, came a year shy of the 10th anniversary of his electrifying performance during half-time of Super Bowl XLI in 2007, hailed by many as the greatest show by a musician at an event that generates the biggest television audience in the United States, drawing an average of 115 million viewers.
Such was his influence that news of his death knocked Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday celebrations, and United States President Barack Obama’s arrival in London, from the front pages of the British newspapers yesterday as, for the first time in a generation, the tabloid Sun and the business broadsheet, The Financial Times, had the same picture on their front page.
Images of his fans crying, as they mourned the death of an icon, flooded television screens on Thursday, and even Obama paid tribute to an artiste whose pioneering magical works in music took the industry to a whole new level and set a benchmark for future musicians to follow.
Some even say only Michael Jackson, the late King of Pop, was a better artiste than Prince.
And that was captured in that touching speech by the then rising American music star, Alicia Keys, in 2004, when she was handed the honour — at the tender age of 23 — of introducing Prince during his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“There are many Kings. King Henry the Eighth, King Solomon, King Tut, King James, King Kong and the Three Kings but there is only one Prince,” Keys told the star-studded audience.
“So, yes, ladies and gentlemen, throughout history there have been many, many Kings, both real and mythological. There have been suns but none of them can touch the rays from this man who stands alone.”
And, after that speech, Prince stood up to take his place among the legends, inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but — just a dozen years later — he was gone, just like that, found lifeless in an elevator at his massive Minnesota estate on Thursday.
Scores of global sports stars, from boxing legend Mike Tyson to former basketball superstar Magic Johnson, joined the world in mourning Prince and, according to authoritative American celebrity website, TMZ, the musician might have died from a drug overdose.
If that is true, which is very likely, the world has once again been plunged into mourning after a celebrity fell victim to drugs and Prince will join the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, who died at the young age of 27, Elvis Presley (42), Ike Turner, Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston, who also succumbed to drugs and left behind a boulevard of broken hearts.
Interestingly, Prince’s greatest hit song, Purple Rain, appears to tell us that he didn’t explode onto the scene to make us cry, to bring sorrow into our hearts, to inflict pain on our souls — what his fans are going through right now — but just to make us laugh in the purple rain.
“I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted one time to see you laughing
I only want to see you laughing in the purple rain
Purple rain, Purple rain
Purple rain, Purple rain
Purple rain, Purple rain
I only want to see you bathing in the purple rain
I never wanted to be your weekend lover
I only wanted to be some kind of friend
Baby I could never steal you from another
It’s such a shame our friendship had to end.”
TEARS AND JEERS FOR A HERO FACING HARD TIMES
Analysts say there is a thin line between wisdom and stupidity, in the world of showbiz, and the same is also true of the world of football where the game’s stars have also fallen victim to fame and, somehow, struggled to handle their time in the spotlight.
And, as CAPS United captain Method Mwanjali languished in remand prison this week, after an altercation outside a Harare night club in the early hours of Sunday left a man battling for his life at Parirenyatwa Hospital, with two stab wounds in the belly allegedly inflicted by the veteran defender, there were many critics who felt that, once again, another celebrity had failed to deal with his fame.
Football, the sport which Brazilian legend Pele called the most beautiful game in the world, was once again being battered by an avalanche of ugly headlines as Method found himself being airlifted from the back pages, where his football talent had helped him create this profile of a celebrity, to the front and middle pages were a lot of humanity’s failings are recorded.
Like Prince before him, and many others too numerous to mention, Method had just inflicted pain and sorrow in the hearts and soul of those who believed in him, who idolised him and who saw in him, a hero and icon, the star of their dreams who, in 2009, was trusted with the ultimate responsibility of leading the Warriors to that COSAFA Cup triumph.
We live in a world of social media, where judgment is swift and usually ruthless and this kind of unregulated media has been in overdrive this week as it charged the footballer, prosecuted him and found him guilty, with images of Method signing a four-year contract with the non-existent Chikurubi FC — a club of inmates — emerging on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, the iconic CAPS United logo being replaced by a knife on jerseys and caps that appeared on the Internet with their ‘GREEN MACHINE’ nickname being replaced by ‘STABBING MACHINE.’
That image of him, handcuffed together with Archford Gutu as they made their way into court, hiding his face beneath his sweater, and being splashed all over the Internet and the newspapers, was a reminder that — whatever happened on that Monday morning — was not something that was good.
And, whatever the circumstances, he should not have been involved.
There was an enduring sense of regret in those courtyard images, the fact that he didn’t want his face to be captured by the scores of cameras that went into overdrive the moment he stepped out, in that kind of compromising situation, but not even that coloured sweater could hide the shame of that moment.
A handsome face — like the departed iconic Prince — that God blessed with so much colour and light, his fans even call him Yellow, the good looks, like legendary Prince, on which the modelling industry is built, now hidden partially under that sweater as the cameras captured the images that will stalk him throughout his life.
And, maybe, for some of his fans — who were standing in that courtyard — men and women who have always idolised him as the leader of their beloved Makepekepe long before he went to seek greener pastures in South Africa, before returning home to rekindle that romance half-a-dozen years later, and others who respected him for the way he had led their Warriors, who find all this hard to believe, this was their Princely touch to this drama.
This was what it sounds like when doves cry.
You could have played the singer’s super song, When Doves Cry, the lead single from Prince’s ’84 critically acclaimed album, Purple Rain, a worldwide hit that spent five weeks on number one in the United States and was the top-selling single of that year, on that courtyard at Harare Magistrates’ Court.
And its lyrics would have represented all those who watched, from a distance, trying hard to convince themselves that what they were seeing wasn’t true but a nightmare that will soon pass and they will soon wake up, breathing heavily, relieved it was all a bad dream.
“How could you leave me standing?
Alone in a world that’s so cold?
Maybe I’m just too demanding
Maybe, I’m just like my father, too bold
Maybe, you’re just like my mother
She’s never satisfied
Why do we scream at each other?
This is what it sounds like when doves cry.”
The doves must have been crying in Hwange this week because this wasn’t what this town, the home of such football legends like Nyaro Mumba, who sadly passed away three years ago, wanted to see from a footballer they love, the boy from their coalfields, dripping with innocence, who left for the big city to become a big name in the biggest game in this country.
The doves were certainly crying on the green side of the capital’s enduring football rivalry this week because these were not the images that the fans of this iconic football franchise, built by the blood of such legends like Blessing Makunike, the sweat of such icons like Joel Shambo and Stanley Ndunduma and the tears of such greats like Joe Mugabe and Duncan Ellison, thought they would, even in their wildest nightmares, ever see.
It’s not my job to judge Method, it’s something that will be done by the courts, people who have the competence to pronounce such judgment, people who are trained and have the experience to see the difference between what is right and what is wrong.
But there is no questioning that, in being at that night club in those strange hours of the morning, Method — a man who carries so much responsibility now that he is the captain of one of the three biggest football franchises in this country — fell short of the expectations of those who gave him the job to lead this giant club and those who believe that CAPS United is more than a football team but a way of life for them.
There is no questioning that these people expect better from Method, as their leader, in particular, and as athlete who should lead other athletes in their camp, in general, and a captain who is spotted at night clubs, in the early hours of Sunday mornings, doesn’t provide the ideal picture of the man that all these people look upon to provide the leadership.
Of course, this doesn’t mean Method should be quarantined, he should never get time off to go for a drink or two, but it’s one thing going for a drink or two and it’s another thing sticking around a night club, at 3am or 4am, or whatever time it was that morning, especially when you carry the kind of responsibilities that he carries on his shoulders as CAPS United captain.
What has made the events of that morning headline news isn’t the fact that, outside a night club in Harare, someone was stabbed twice in the belly, because it’s something that happens all the time in this city, and you never get to read it on the front pages of the newspapers and attract the kind of international coverage that this incident has done.
What has made the events of that morning headline news is the fact that Method was involved, the fact that he was alleged to have been the one who stabbed the other man, because there is an expectation, from everyone, that — given his status and the load he carries as a public figure — he should never be involved in that.
Method hasn’t been thrown straight into the CAPS United starting XI, even though he has been at the club since last year, even though his coach honoured him with the responsibility of being the captain, because Lloyd Chitembwe believes he still need to work on his fitness levels and get to the level where the others are right now.
Now, given that rehabilitation programme that the club have laid out for him, paying him since he signed his deal in the middle of last year even when he wasn’t playing for the Green Machine, laying the groundwork so that he gets to the level, fitness-wise, needed for him to play in the first XI, those who believe that he insulted those who have been supportive of him by hanging out at those odd hours of the morning, might have a point.
Surely, for goodness sake, the Harare Derby is just around the corner — just eight days from now — and if the CAPS United skipper, who is not yet 100 percent fit, isn’t prioritising resting his body, so that he can plunge into action for his Green Machine in that big battle, and is hanging out at weird hours of the morning, what message does that send to those who pay his bills and the fans who demand success in such big battles?
Those are the questions that Method has to answer, and they are tough ones, no doubt about that, because there is more to this story — when one considers his position in society and the club that he represents — than whether or not he is the one who had the knife and could have inflicted the stab wounds, and it’s refreshing to hear that the victim could be discharged from hospital this weekend, something that he is denying.
Until then, all this silence, this disbelief, is what it sounds like when doves cry.
OF COURSE, METHOD ISN’T ALONE IN ALL THIS MADNESS
Tomorrow, Troy Deeney will lead Watford onto the hallowed Wembley turf for an FA Cup semi-final dance that will certainly bring back a flood memories of the halcyon days of the ‘80s when the Hornets rolled into the final of this prestigious tournament.
Back in those rock and roll days for Watford, when legendary British musician Elton John was fittingly the chairman of the club, they qualified for the ’84 FA Cup final, only to lose to Everton, played in the old UEFA Cup and, in John Barnes, they had one of the finest forwards in world football then.
Last season, Deeney became the first player in Watford’s history to score 20 or more goals in three straight seasons as his goals helped power Watford into the English Premiership, and he has scored nine goals in the top-flight this season, including a penalty against Manchester United in a 1-2 defeat for his club.
It’s difficult to imagine that, four years ago, Deeney was labelled by the English media as a “disgraced footballer” after he was jailed for 10 months for his part in a savage attack on a group of students, which was caught on CCTV, outside a Birmingham night club.
The fracas left one man with a broken jaw, another requiring 20 stitches to a mouth wound, while Deeney was caught on CCTV as he repeatedly kicked one of the victims in the head outside the Bliss night club on Broad Street in Birmingham’s city centre.
The judge, David Tomlinson, described the incident as a “gratuitous beating” and Deeney, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 10-months in prison of which he served three months, released early because of good behaviour and his show of remorse.
Watford stuck with him and, after he was handed the club captaincy, as recognition of his leadership role since his return from prison, and he led from the front to guide Watford back into the Premiership, he even handed out tickets to his former jail mates for them to come and watch him in action in the big match against Manchester United.
Steve Gerrard, John Terry, you name them, have — at some point in their lives — also faced the same predicament that Mwanjali faces today, after being caught up in a brawl outside night clubs, and Stevie G even faced the possibility of five years in jail.
He escaped, and his place among Liverpool and England’s greatest is now secured, and the same is also true of Terry who later became England and Chelsea captain.
FOR ALL OUR FLAWS, WE
AREN’T THE WORST
So, the Nigeria football crisis this week took a bizarre twist when one faction, battling to control the Football Federation, attempted to appoint a dead referee for tomorrow’s match between Warri Wolves and Giwa FC.
Wale Akinsanya, the referee selected by one of the factions to handle the game tomorrow, apparently died in January this year.
What a shame!
Come on Warriors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Text Feedback – 0772545199
WhatsApp Messenger – 0772545199
Email – [email protected]
Skype – sharuko58
Chat with me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter @Chakariboy, interact with me on Viber or read my material in The Southern Times. The authoritative ZBC weekly television football magazine programme, Game Plan, is being refreshed and we off air for now.