Senior Arts Reporter
Police yesterday dispersed mourners at the late Zimdancehall icon Soul Jah Love’s Msasa Park home in Harare after they exceeded 30, the number of people allowed at a funeral in accordance with lockdown regulations meant to control the spread of Covid-19.
The law enforcement agents had a torrid time as they literally wrestled with the huge numbers that wanted to pay their last homage to the celebrated singer.
Soul Jah Love, born Soul Musaka, died on Tuesday and was declared a liberation hero.
He is expected to be buried at Warren Hills in Harare at 11am tomorrow.
Commotion became the order of the day, with mourners, mainly youths who followed his music, continuously clashing with police who wanted them to leave.
Soul Jah Love’s neighbours expressed dismay at some mourners who would relieve themselves on their flowerbeds during day time and threw empty alcohol bottles and litter at their premises.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi urged the mourners to observe national lockdown and Covid-19 regulations as they paid their last respects to the Zimdancehall icon.
“As police, we urge mourners to adhere to all Covid-19 regulations and what was announced by President Mnangagwa in his recent State-of-the-Nation address. Mourners should also seek guidance from the Ministry of Health and Child Care.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said police had been deployed to monitor the situation on the ground and funeral proceedings.
There were ululations at the funeral wake after the singer was declared a liberation hero, with his fans bursting into song.
“Pamamonya Ipapo”, “Hove Huru”, and “Hupenyu Ivhiri”, they sang renditions of Soul Jah Love’s songs.
Some took to social media to thank the authorities for honouring “Chibaba”.
“We are very happy with the decision by the Government, unfortunately we can’t all be at the burial, but that itself is too much for us. We are celebrating, thank you Chibaba for this . . . ” posted one fan.
In an interview, Soul Jah Love’s brother, Simbarashe Musaka, said the singer was loved by many, hence the presence of crowds at the funeral wake.
“The situation is tense, but we are trying by all means to control the fans. We have set down as a family and emphasised that we should respect and observe the Covid-19 regulations. You can see that everyone who is coming to pay their last respect we make sure they are sanitised and that they are putting on their masks.”
Musaka said some celebrities were coming to pay their respects and leave immediately afterwards.
He urged Soul Jah Love’s fans to do the same to stay safe from Covid-19.
“We know they love him and they would love to sing and celebrate him, but with the current situation it is not possible. I plead with the fans to respect us also as a family and adhere to the Covid-19 regulations.
“We want to have a limited number and that includes his closest friends, management, artistes and family.”
Musaka thanked the ruling party, Zanu PF, for declaring his brother a liberation hero.
“We are grateful for this and this will remain in our memory. Although some of our family members wanted him to be buried in Mhondoro, Sauro was based in Harare and that is where most of his work and fans are.
“Despite renting a house in Msasa Park, he was also building his house in Arlington suburb, but I am happy we later agreed to bury him at Warren Hills after the State assisted us.”
Musaka said they will collect Soul Jah Love’s body tomorrow at Nyaradzo Funeral Parlour.
There is also going to be a Zoom funeral for those who can’t make it.
Some of Soul Jah Love’s friends who were at the funeral wake included Stunner, PaChihera, Faith Candy, BaShupi, Oscar Pambuka and Changara.
Some fans, promoters and creatives took to social media to praise Zanu PF for declaring the musician a liberation hero, as they too believed it was a befitting honour
Germany-based Zimbabwean creative and content creator Plot Mhako said the musician was legend and deserved the hero status.
“Celebrated in life and in death! The musician was a true icon, a hero who defied many odds to become a music superstar whose own personal story touched and entertained many,” he said.
“The hero status conferred on him is befitting and the move by the Government is applauded. Such appreciation of aerostats beyond politics is what the late legend Tuku dreamt of and openly sang about in one song. Soul Jah Love will forever be remembered and his music will live on.”
Arts promoter and businessman Spencer Madziya said Soul Jah Love befits the status.
“VaMusaka was a hero and the recognition is befitting because a hero is defined as a person of distinguished ability and courage. His works unified and inspired many. He rests with our esteemed legends Tuku, Chimbetu and Chinx,” said Madziya.