Jamaican reggae artistes are not happy with Robert Mugabe's controversial statement about Jamaican men being hooked on weed and always drunk.
According to a report on www.thezimbabwemail.net, the Zimbabwean president, during a 'distinguished lecture' at the Research and Intellectual Expo 2012, said he wished Zimbabwe would never follow the footsteps of Jamaicans.
"In Jamaica, they have freedom to smoke mbanje, varume vanogara vakadhakwa (men are always drunk) and universities are full of women. The men want to sing and do not go to colleges vamwe vanobva vamonwa musoro (some are dreadlocked). Let us not go there," Mugabe said.
Several artistes over the years such as Sizzla, Red Rat, Bob Marley, Cocoa Tea, have performed in Zimbabwe.
According to veteran reggae artiste Cocoa Tea who said he performed alongside fellow artiste Fantan Mojah in Zimbabwe last October, "that statement is not a true reflection of us as people. Jamaicans are way better than that and we are leaders but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Sizzla is an educated artiste who has his degree for example. I don't really know how he came up with that conclusion," he said.
Reggae/dancehall musician Sizzla Kalonji reasoned that he has taken no offence to the president's statement.
"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," Sizzla said.
He further reasoned, "we love the president and he should assist us as black people to overcome the phangs of hell daunted unto us by the slave masters. He should also take the time and look into our educational system and living conditions, and see how best he can help us towards the redemption and repatriation of our people to Africa."
Meanwhile, reggae artiste Tony Rebel said that Mugabe's statement is unfortunate.
"President Mugabe is a man who I have revolutionary respect for but I say 'you are wrong Mr President' because I am a Jamaican, and I don't smoke and drink for years and I know of many other Jamaicans who don't smoke. That statement is not a true reflection of us as a people because not everybody wants to sing and a lot of our sons are in colleges and the president needs to do his research," Tony Rebel said.
He further reasoned,"that statement was meant to be an insult but it's actually a compliment because it is because the Jamaican culture is so influential why he found it necessary to include Jamaica in such a distinguished lecture. I wish him the best of health and hope he is not getting senile because he is over 80 years old and he needs to find a successor," Tony Rebel said. 'Violations': Robert Mugabe
President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe listens as Prof. Alpha Oumar Konare, chairman of the Commission of the African Union, addresses attendees at the opening ceremony of the 10th Ordinary Session of the Assembly during the African Union Summit in Addis Ab aba, Ethiopia, Jan. 31, 2008.