There is something enigmatic about the epic song “Pamamonya Ipapo” by Soul Jah Love which didn’t need to be touched. An intangible magic that no-one can put their fingers on and whose pulse even the most disciplined of fingers cannot feel.
It is something that makes the song arguably one that redefined the very notion of music making and indeed most importantly lyricism in the country last year. It was an anthem which resonated with the majority of the nation. Black white Asain . . . young old Ndebele Shona, Kalanga, Nambya, Tonga.
The majority who have to fight for recognition in an economy that does not care for them but rather loves the powerful rich and elite. It’s lyrics said we will force ourselves onto the status-quo. We cannot and will not be ignored
And yet the limerick near nonsensical lyrics of one “Ndini Ndamubata” by Jah Prayzah at the tail end of the year came onto the scene and lifted the gong at the National Arts Merit Awards for song of the year ahead of the Zimdancehall song by Soul Jah Love.
It is probably the toughest trophy that Jah Prayzah has ever lifted without question and without doubt. Nama, with all due respect and with its judges know in their heart of hearts that this was a gong that deserved to go to Soul Jah Love by miles. And a foot. And two inches.
In fact if the nominees were truly fair there ought to have been Ammara Brown’s “Akiliz” on the list alongside “Nhema” by Killer T to complete the three songs for nominees in that category. But maybe Nama actually were right.
“Pamamonya Ipapo” was nominated in the Song of the Year category. There could never have been a worse farce and mistake. You see, “Pamamonya Ipapo” is not defined by the artificial walls that define creations like the calendar year as gifted to us by Pope Gregory in his Gregorian calendar.
“Pamamonya Ipapo” is not a song of a year. It deserves to take its place alongside the songs of the decade or perhaps that define our entire age.
“Pamamonya Ipapo” is a great work of philosophical tear jerking art; a resilience and stubbornness that says even us the children of the lower beings. The lower tribes. Yes; we can also work hard enough that no one can ignore our grind.
Nama judges confirmed exactly what the song says. There are those who will shamefully not give Soul Jah Love his just win but that is what he will essentially be singing.
He doesn’t need a gong to prove what everyone knows. What everyone accepts. Soul Jah Love created a monster and the shameful people who thought he didn’t deserve a win can hang their heads in shame.
So it is true that Soul Jah Love did not deserve the award because he cheated and created something so big that even a year cannot contain it.
Soul Jah Love needs to take a bow. He was the ghetto prophet who sang a song that resonated with what the ordinary person was feeling and probably still feels.
His song was used in churches. Bars. Funerals. It was the hallmark of the year and beyond. But he joins stars like Killer T in the past who were robbed clearly of their deserved wins.
But fortunately for Soul Jah Love, award or no award, he will continue to ‘‘eat a bone for them as skinny as he is. He will continue to ‘stand amongst the muscular guys’ no doubt!”
Soul Jah Love . . . take a bow. They always write bad news about you yet when you deserve that elusive pat on the back for doing something extraordinary they rob you of even your genius.
However, this time I suppose the fans will give you the award in the deepest depths of their hearts.
You didn’t deserve song of the year. Yours is a song of a lifetime!