WORD on the street is that a Jah Prayzah ‘copycat’, who goes by the stage name Gushungo, is allegedly also in a relationship with the former’s ex-wife.
A picture of Gushungo and Jah Prayzah’s alleged ex, whose name wasn’t stated, circulating on social media has set tongues wagging.
After catching wind of this tittle-tattle, this scribe conducted a simple Google search to check the available information on the ‘accused’.
One of the oldest existing articles online is a story titled ‘Evidence Chihera interviews Gushungo’.
An accompanying video shows Chihera asking the artiste to explain why he has been linked to both Jah Prayzah and Andy Muridzo, to which he failed to competently put up a strong defence, with a porous argument that he can imitate them but his music does not copy the duo’s.
Commenting on many social media platforms, some Jah Prayzah followers have come out guns blazing, dispelling the picture and rumour as just another gimmick by a ‘copycat’ trying to ride on Jah Prayzah’s success while building his own name.
If that argument is anything to go by, then perhaps, though Shakespeare opined: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them,” he could have forgotten to mention that some steal greatness from those that have achieved it.
Pardon the oxymoron, for the great artiste being referred to above is evidently Jah Prayzah, who, in actual fact, is yet to reach greatness in his trade as he is yet to prove his mettle, but that is a story for another day.
Despite his short-comings, just like any other human being, Jah Prayzah seems to have inspired many to follow in his footsteps, and the affable Andy Muridzo comes to mind as a potential threat who was quickly ‘bought out’ and brought under the JP Records label the moment he showed signs he could pit himself against Jah Prayzah in the contemporary traditional jiti genre.
Baba Harare is yet another artiste who had to strut his stuff and defend his turf when he hung his boots from backing Jah Prayzah as a band member, and went solo. Now, the charismatic Baba Harare seems to have found himself and commands a huge following, including quite a number of former Jah Prayzah groupies.
Well, back to Gushungo, an artiste who claims to be related to both Jah Prayzah and Andy Muridzo.
He has burst onto the music scene, casting uncertainty on who will emerge victorious in the battle for the afro-fusion music badge of honour.
Gushungo seems to be riding on a newly-found crest of success, having released 17 singles and being pictured last week shooting a music video with Diana Samkange.
Curious to unmask Gushungo, Patriot Arts traced him to Ruwa’s Plaka Tarvena, a joint famous for being the watering hole of many bigwigs such as the late General Solomon Mujuru and Rtd Prisons Commissioner Paradzayi Zimondi.
Now run by Khanyisa Mthimukulu, affectionately known as Mai U, Plaka Tarvena was bustling with life last Sunday despite schools having reopened and many complaining of the ‘newly discovered February disease’, a type of illness that affects parents and guardians who failed to recover from January disease.
The main act was none other than Gushungo.
From a distance, as his music pierced the dull Sunday atmosphere, sounds reminiscent of the controversial Thomas Mapfumo could be heard.
Upon reaching the stage, what met the eye was somewhat confusing. The main man was a lanky fellow who resembled Andy Muridzo in both stature and hairstyle, and though he donned flashy clothing, there seemed to be a discord with the type of music he was playing.
Naturally, traditional mbira music has always been associated with traditional garb and animal skins, but here was an artiste dressed like a hip-hop prodigy, serenading the crowd with afro-fusion vibes.
To his credit, a live band and vibrant dancers put up a respectable performance but cast doubts on whether they may even be ready to occupy an even bigger stage.
During break, I managed to make my way backstage and asked Gushungo for a comment.
“I grew up mixing with artistes, like Andy Muridzo. Even though I knew that I was a good singer, I was pressured by my parents to pursue academics and actually shunned a professional career in music,” said Gushungo.
“I was pressured by people who used to listen to me singing at church, telling me that I was talented, but I took them for granted.
“I thank God and my ancestors who made me cross paths with Andy Muridzo because I realised that I was capable of doing what he can do. Thus began my musical journey as I ventured into the studio and started recording my own tracks.”
Asked when he actually met Andy Muridzo, Gushungo said that although they share the same totem, Gushungo, they are in fact cousins and started a professional relationship in 2016.
By 2017, he had completed a Diploma in Law at People’s College, but as music was his calling, he somehow found himself angling for a career in music.
“I know there is a lot of controversy from fans saying that I copy Jah Prayzah and Andy Muridzo, but we are nothing but artistes singing the same type of music. When Andy started, he was accused of copying Jah Prayzah. Even Jah Prayzah joined an existing genre and he cannot claim that he invented afro-fusion.”
Gushungo went on to claim that if an artiste plays mbira and guitars on stage, and happens to have dreadlocks, then he/she would be accused of copying Jah Prayzah.
What stuck out like a sore thumb was the musician’s recurrent theme of comparing and associating himself with Jah Prayzah and Andy Muridzo, giving credence to the claim that, indeed, he might be stealing their thunder by association and trying to find relevance.
And as another commentator said, if he is sharing the bed with Jah Prayzah’s ex, that’s their business, but using such information to build a name is like building a house in a swamp.
It thus remains to be seen if Gushungo can be his own man and shake off the copycat tag which, ironically, he seems comfortable with.