ONCE again, the police had a torrid time in enforcing Covid-19 regulations as scores of people thronged Warren Hills Cemetery for the burial of the much-loved Zimdancehall star Soul Jah Love.
With the country still in a nationwide lockdown to help combat the virus, only 30 people are allowed to attend funerals according to World Health Organisation guidelines. However, it was not the case yesterday as thousands thronged the cemetery to bid farewell to the chanter, whose real name was Soul Muzavazi Musaka, after he was declared by the government a liberation hero due to his contribution to the arts industry.
Lorries and bakkies were seen carrying people from high-density suburbs, especially in Mbare, as they made their way to the cemetery. The law enforcement agents were clearly overwhelmed and capitulated under the weight of the huge crowd that had come to say goodbye to their late hero, whose music identified with many of the under privileged ghetto youths.
For a moment, people completely threw out Covid-19 guidelines like wearing of masks and physical distancing. The burial turned out to be a celebratory event, resembling a street dance giving people an opportunity to enjoy music, dance, drink beer and smoke after a long period under lockdown.
The irony of it all is the fact that just a stone’s throw away from Warren Hills, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was officiating at the burial of former police deputy commissioner Moses Mpofu at the National Heroes Acres where Covid-19 regulations were followed to the letter. The entire Warren Hills complex was swarmed with mourners mainly dressed in black and the proceedings were clearly disrupted by the singing and dancing that was taking place.
Most of the mourners were belting out Jah Love’s 2019 hit Kana Ndafa which has quickly bounced back into national prominence ever since the chanter’s death due to diabetes complications on Tuesday in the capital. The song is a requiem which Jah Love penned following a number of fake news reports about his death on social media.
When the casket was finally removed from the hearse and placed on the lowering device, more pandemonium broke out as the crowd began pushing and shoving to get a closer look. The pallbearers had no choice, but to take back the casket to the hearse in order to quell the situation. After some minutes, order was finally restored and the proceedings continued.
Harare Metropolitan Provincial Affairs minister Oliver Chidau presided over the burial, but it was clear people had no time to give an ear to his speech. There was pandemonium when the Zimbabwe National Army soldiers lined up in formation to fire a 21-gun salute as the casket was lowered into the grave.
Mourners erupted into screams of joy as they appreciated the befitting send-off Soul Jah Love had received after rising from abject poverty into a music star. His remains were interred next to his father’s grave. His father Ephraim Musaka died in 2003 and was also declared a liberation war hero.
Soul Jah Love joined Simon Chimbetu, Oliver Mtukudzi and Dixon “Cde Chinx” Chingaira who were also declared heroes.