I write this to you not only as a journalist but a staunch fan of Zimdancehall music and dancehall music entirety.
If writing is an art, then I write to you wearing that cap.
I find myself in deep and constant thought over the sudden turn of events in your lives.
It’s not easy to walk out of that courtroom and get escorted to the prison truck waving freedom goodbye.
Considering that your new home for the next six months is notorious for disregard of basic rights including access of information, I do hope and pray this letter reaches to you in any form.
It is my genuine prayer that you have adjusted, recalibrated and settled within the unfamiliar ‘college’ walls.
I’m told the best way to beat the jail blues is to adjust your mindset and accept the reality.
I have never been behind bars myself, so I may not be the right person to advise you about life behind bars.
I have, however, been in a prison of my own. Myself and the bulk of other youths in the beloved country.
Our minds have been shackled and we have been confined to a “psychological prison.”
Never mind Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison and its famed size and security.
The biggest jail that the youths in these humble ruins of Zimbabwe have been exposed to is the psychological jail, where many have served many years with hard labour of depression.
This ‘jail’ is more of an open prison filled with inmates that drown from the pressure of failed dreams, muted opportunities and bleak, hopeless future.
I believe as Chillspot Records, you managed to escape and conquer this jail.
Many are serving life sentences and have resorted to passing time by getting hooked on drugs and intoxicating substances of all sorts.
By setting up Chillspot Records, you made good your escape and offered others a chance not only to realise their dreams but also to tell their stories through song.
You set a stage for the ghetto youths to get an alternative to the harsh realities of life.
Chillspot became a sanctuary for the ghetto youths, it did not only create a hypothetical alternative to the harsh realities of the life of ghetto youths, but real life stories can be told of how lives changed.
You are key players in the rags to riches stories of youngsters who struggled to make ends meet in the dusty streets of Mbare.
Coming to mind is Killah T (real name Kelvin Kusikwenyu).
The now larger than life artiste was just an ordinary Mbare youths in Matapi Flats and you nurtured his dream and catapulted him to stardom.
He is now a proud owner of an uptown house in Aspindale Park and is reportedly building a mansion in the number 1 addresses of Harare.
Other names include Bazooker, Enzo Ishall and Pumacol who used to walk on foot to Mbare in pursuit of a dream seemed too far.
Though you vibed in different eras, your contribution surpassed the likes of the late Culture T, Major, Booker T and Man Soul Jah in turning Zimdancehall into a commercially viable genre.
Under Chill Spot Records, dancehall not only became a movement but a religion of which you and your various partners serve as the Bishops of the Chillspot church of Zimdancehall.
Chill Spot is not just a studio but an escape and place of inspiration, but a place where trends and firsts has been set.
The Zimdancehall Passa Passa culture was by and large invented there.
It is in the thrills of the culture that landed you in jail.
If I am to call a spade a spade, I put to you that you erred.
Your behaviour on December 31 was in disregard of both legal and common sense expectations which we can blame on your youthful exuberance and maybe the nostalgia of the good old new year religion of ushering the new year.
I never expected the worst judgement given that the offence carried an option of a fine or community service.
The Judicial Services Commission’s mantra screams: “a Zimbabwe in which world class justice prevail.”
In that light, I thought the courts would administer a less harsh judgment.
I not a legal expect but somehow I think the law was applied selectively bearing in mind that there is video and pictorial evidence of some entertainers and promoters who held similar shows under the same circumstances but are walking scot free.
I guess some animals are more equal than others.
We can say justice has been served but at a cost of some youths’ dreams. Many had pending recordings scheduled and to them it’s not just a setback but dreams deffered.
I know little about Dhama, maybe he has familiar friends in jail but I know Levels and Fantan will be familiar residents of the tall walls albeit in different circumstances.
I hope this rehabilitation phase in prison will make you come out stronger.
Top international artistes like Jah Cure, Ninja Mann and Buju Banton have walked the same path and came out stronger.
“I was buried alive but I’m still breathing,” bellowed Buju Banton upon his release.
Chill Spot records will keep breathing and changing lives of ghetto youths, you have made yourselves ghetto youths’ devotees.
Through your unfortunate incarceration, I hope the youths have learnt about the dangers of Covid-19.
Technically you have become ambassadors of the fight against Covid-19 by default.
I hope you appeal and the court will be lenient enough to reignite the hope of many youths. If that fails we will wait for your return and when that day comes please do not organize any welcome back bash, it still could be illegal given Covid-19 seems to be here to stay.
I know you had no intention of wantonly creating a super spreader environment.
Stand guided by your motto – Chill Spot is not a Kill spot.
Keep strong, we will meet on the other side!
Yours in art