Soul jah luv, a cat with nine lives

Written By Brian Muringisi

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It’s raining cats and dogs outside, Zesa does it’s thing opting to go for a rain sabbatical, so I am left in the dark with nothing to do but view whatsapp statuses.

Soul jah luv is plastered on almost everyone’s status with crying emojis of course. “R.I.P chibaba, Maku, Gwendeza” they all say.

My initial thought to be honest was that the conquering lion, a “cat with nine lives” so to speak could not be dead. Given his many near death encounters, one can be forgiven for thinking that “Chibaba” was only promoting his album and capturing the nation’s attention as he so often did.

Soul jah luv (real name Soul Musaka) was truely a cat with nine lives. His whole life story read like a character out of a Dambudzo Marechera novel. Some say he was Zim dancehall’s Marechera: endowed with genius and intelligence yet dodged by a troubled existence.

In his first of many hit songs, _Ndini uyaya_ , “Maku” as we affectionately called him set out to detail his troubled life story. It seemed that just like Marechera, Soul jah luv was the outcast for the better part of his life, written off by society as a non-entity yet rising to prominence through protest and rebellion.

Chibaba was a cat with nine lives not only because he escaped death countless times but because of his many identities and personalities.

One is quickly reminded of his hit song featuring Cello Culture “Minana”. In this song, ‘Gwendeza’ set himself up for a battle with churches and “fake” prophets as he saw them. Funny thing is years down the line he featured the Prophetic, healing and Deliverance ministries (PHD) choir in showering praises to Prophet Walter Magaya, “munhu wa Mwari” as he puts it.

Chibaba was both a symbol of resilience and some would argue a symbol of resignation. His upbringing and his journey to stardom has grains of bravery and bravado littered along the way. From the wretched streets to driving a hammer at some point in his career.

His battle with drugs however tells of a different story. That of a young man beleaguered by his conditions of existence and resigning his fate to “come what may”.

“Inzwa inini” to the pedestrian mind might seem like one of those crazy Jah love rants, however to the woke mind it was a plea to his innate troubling and menacing voices.

Soul had a love-hate relationship with the ruling elites. From singing “Zimbabwe nyika yedu” and “ndovatenda va Mugabe” to singing “pwanyai” after the system had destroyed his then newly built house.

Like any prophet Makuruwani sensed the end was in sight. His hit song “Kana ndafa” gave us the guide to how we should treat his memory. “Tsomu tsomu” was a plea to his inner demons that haunted him.

One thing remains clear though, that Soul Musaka, Zim dancehall’s Marechera, the cat with nine lives will forever be with us .

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