Despite disparaging comments made by Robert Mugabe about his country, internationally acclaimed Reggae star, Sizzla Kalonji still plans to perform in the Zimbabwe president’s homeland on an upcoming tour.
Sizzla remains scheduled to perform a pair of stage shows in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare during his Jah Put a Hand on Africa tour, slated to begin next month. This will mark the third time that Sizzla has performed in Zimbabwe as he previously appeared in the south African country for a pair of shows hosted by Robert Mugabe in January 2010 before returning to the island a month later for the Zimbabwe president’s birthday concert.
Sizzla’s decision to go ahead with his schedule performances in Zimbabwe does raise some eyebrows after Mugabe made controversial assertions about Jamaica during a lecture at the Research and Intellectual Expo 2012 where he allegedly implied that Jamaican men were uneducated while branding the island as a “country of marijuana smokers, where women are now taking charge since men are always sloshed (drunk).”
These comments and others infuriated Jamaican Reggae artistes as well as Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller who branded Mugabe’s comments as misguided while insisting that her country has made significant contributions to the arts, education and other means.
However, upon hearing Mugabe’s comments, Sizzla did not seem perturbed, telling the Jamaica STAR, "Black people are beautiful and courageous, strong, educated and we should keep our heads up and keep sailing high and be determined towards our goals as Zimbabweans and Jamaicans. I personally took no offence to the statement. Marijuana is a holy sacrament being used in the nyahbinghi churcical chanting and singing is a part of our culture from ancient of days, it's even in the bible where Psalms of David said we should sing and give praise unto the most high.”
Now, a member of Sizzla’s Jah Put a Hand on Africa tour and prominent sound system, Everton ‘Caveman’ Moore has come out suggesting that Mugabe’s statements should serve as an eye-opener.
"If he really said so, it's not inaccurate. Look how much youth pon the corners a rub out dem han' middle," Moore told the Jamaica Observer.
“If he said so, we should see it as a wake-up call. It's something we need to address."
Moore, who also accompanied Sizzla to his 2010 shows, intimated that Mugabe expressed his admiration for Jamaica when they met with him during the shows.
"He said he has always loved Jamaica because there is so much similarity with his country," he said.
The Jah Put a Hand on Africa Tour will feature Jamaican artistes such as Fred Locks, Wildfire and Fabian Marley as well as Trinidadian entertainers, Orlando Octave, Khari Hill and Singing Carlene.