Fred Zindi Music
I was sitting back stage at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) during the Mafikizolo Concert which also featured Alexio Kawara, Oliver Mtukudzi and Tocky Vybes. During the artistes’ performance I was sitting on the backstage high chair until Tocky Vybes came on the stage with a whole heap of people accompanying him.
One of his bouncers asked me to move from my chair so that Tocky Vybes could sit on it as an introduction to his grand stage entrance. I obliged and moved to a smaller chair. I had watched Alexio Kawara and Oliver Mtukudzi perform while seated on this high chair and nobody had hassled me. Oliver even came and shook my hand before going on stage, and said to me: “Thank you for coming.”
At that point in time, I was joined backstage by Jah Prayzah. The two of us were busy chatting when suddenly, one of Tocky Vybes’ bouncers named Baba aNgoni confronted us and said: “Hey you two, remove yourselves from the stage, because Tocky doesn’t want anyone backstage!” I stood my ground and then Elvis Bokosha, Tocky’s manager, who had witnessed the confrontation came and apologised. He let us stay. I kept wondering what Tocky Vybes needed bouncers for. Jah Prayzah, or Dr Oliver Mtukudzi who in my opinion are bigger artistes than him, do not move around with bouncers. Besides, how much does he pay his bouncers? What money is he making to afford bouncers?
After the confrontation with his bouncers, the 21 year old came on stage clad in a black suit, glass shoes and a magician’s top hat. He was received with thunderous applause.
If he had walked off the stage then, the “Mai” singer would have been able to tell his mother that people cheered loudly for him, but they didn’t and it was downhill from there onwards. When it was time to sing, there was trouble in paradise for Tocky.
Firstly the sound was bad for some reason. You could see sound engineer Tamie Bimha trying his best to deal with constant feedback but he didn’t get it quite right. Some of the marimbas in the band could not be heard.
Not only did the sound fail, but Tocky’s voice also failed. That is the first time I heard about juju.
Last week, I was browsing through The Standard of January 17 and was shocked to read an article titled: “Tocky Vybes blames Juju for his misfortunes”.
The article went:
“Tocky Vybes is finding the going tough and failed to land any shows in Harare during the just-ended festive season, amid claims by his camp that a certain top musician (name withheld) is using juju to thwart his rise.
Tocky had a forgettable 2015, failing to maintain the standards he set in 2014 with trailblazing hits that took the nation by storm.”
I have heard so many stories about juju being used in football, but in my many years of experience with music, this is the first time I have come across such a situation.
If this is true, it is rather unfortunate that Tocky believes in supernatural powers that should make him rise to the top of his game.
Unfortunately, Tocky is not alone in such alleged beliefs.
Africa has long standing history of deep superstition composed in the beliefs of many uncertainties. Strong beliefs in witchcraft, juju, gods, ancestors, black magic, miracles, sorcery, necromancy, ghosts, etc. have converged as thick cloud over the minds of her citizens.
Many Africans live in constant fear of these beliefs and strongly embrace them as a way of life. Witchcraft and wizardly prevail across the continent and are employed largely to haul people down and even end their lives.
People use juju to procure fast riches and trigger their businesses and fight others in the contest of life. People put faith in juju solving life problems on this part of the continent. Strong beliefs in prophets, the gods and ancestors are found in almost all the countries in Africa.
The gods according to strong African traditions, dictate the pace of the people and order their steps and above all, control the affairs of the people. Huge sacrifices are made to these deities as well as the ancestors to avert misfortunes which are purely natural such as rainfall, earthquake, flooding, outbreak of diseases, hunger.
People invoke curses on their enemies in the name of the gods and ancestors. Sorcery, necromancy and glare occultism prevail across the continent unabated. These are the roots of African superstition and it is deep seated in the minds of people and in the heart of the continent.
Tocky Vybes is no exception if he harbours these beliefs. However, he needs a more positive attitude towards his career if he is to make more progress this year. It seems most of his misfortunes are brought upon him by himself. He is on record as someone who rebuffs journalists when approached. His response is often “Talk to my manager, Elvis Bokosha.”
Bokosha is not the journalist’s manager. The journalist wants to hear intimate details about Tocky Vybes from Tocky himself.
If it so important that the manager has to be consulted about anyone who wants to talk to Tocky Vybes and if I were Tocky Vybes, I would simply say, “Let me talk to my manager first to see if it is okay to talk to you, then I will come back to you.”
That is more positive than asking everyone to talk to Bokosha instead.
Tocky tries to blame everyone for his poor performances at times. For instance at the Mafikizolo show, he, without any evidence at all, blamed sound engineers for the poor sound quality during his performance.
When he does his sound check before the show, he should ask these guys to save the sound levels he finds satisfactory and ensure that his own sound engineer sticks to these levels on the mixing desk during his performance, but he leaves this to anybody and later blames them for sabotage.
He should also get rid of some of his bodyguards such as Baba aNgoni who is notorious for harassing fans at his concerts. Looks like this young man still has a lot to learn from the music business.
The veil of superstition is African’s huge burden which continues to constantly draw the continent into dissipation and hopelessness. Superstition is the king of Africa who sits right in the minds of many people and dictates their pace in life.
For God’s sake, do not let Juju enter the music world. — Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org