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Zimbabwe: Dancehall Thugs Haunt Freeman


Is he a bad musician or unlucky performer? Zimdancehall chanter Freeman – real name Emegy Sylvester Chizanga – has become a prime target of hooliganism at big dancehall shows.

Usually, when he goes on stage during the big shows, missiles rain on Freeman.

It happened at Gwanzura Stadium, Harare Gardens and even in his backyard at Dzivaresekwa Stadium.

It happened again last weekend at Old Hararians Sports Club where Freeman was part of a contingent of local musicians sharing the stage with Jamaican chanter Kalado.

Although most of the missiles of the night were thrown at Kalado, Freeman got his share of cans and bottles when he was on stage.

In Kalado’s case fans were utterly dismayed by his poor performance and registered their displeasure through unacceptable dancehall hooliganism.

But Freeman’s performance was not bad and the missiles apparently came from his usual haters.

Freeman said the main reason for the violence was the hostility between various “clans” in Zimdancehall.

“Zimdancehall is infested with bad-minded people. There are always people who come to shows to cause violence simply because an artiste performing is not from their clan,” said Freeman.

“Just like what happened last weekend, there are people that come to the shows to cause commotion and they have targeted me at various shows.”

However, Freeman says he will not be deterred by the haters because he has become used to the culture of violence at dancehall shows.

“I will never leave the stage when haters start throwing cans because it is a sign of weakness on their part,” he said.

The Dangerzone leader said he is now taking the attack as part of his performances and he would not try to identify his haters because he is not alone in the predicament of dancehall hooliganism.

“The attack was not a problem for me because artistes get ‘caned’ these days. I actually expected it because that has become a part of Zim dancehall. If you go to a dance hall show and that does not happen then you are not in Zimbababwe. Winky D gets attacked and so does Soul Jah Love and many others.

Even visiting Jamaican Kalado got the cans so it is now part of dancehall culture.”

The incidents of violence persist mainly because show organisers and responsible security personnel at the events are not taking action against the perpetrators of violence.

When contacted for a comment on the latest incident, Kalado show promoter and Digital One boss Luther Pazvakavambwa seemed to be in denial over the issue.

At first he professed ignorance over the missile-throwing incidents despite being at the venue on the night.

When pressed further he said only a ‘reasonable’ number of cans and bottles had been thrown on stage.

“Well, cans were thrown but they were not that many. After all, Kalado himself thought people were throwing cans at him because they liked his performance,” he said before hanging up and then ignoring this reporter’s calls for the rest of the day.

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