Despite my best intentions not to pen this one, out of respect of not wanting to kick a man who’s already down, I couldn’t keep my fingers from my keyboard. Like magnet on steel, my fingers were pulled to construct the following escapade (which I could have avoided) by my simple dislike of mediocre musicians and music; especially that from an artist (word on the street says is) on the run from a recent almost fatal wife battering situation back in Zimbabwe.
Despite my best intentions of what I call a great weekend, you know, the type that you just chill with loved ones, braii and get drunk from your own supply, I was convinced by an in-law of mine to visit club Alicat in Randburg where Roki was performing. So I gathered up the little love I have for the genre that has seen us Zimbos go nowhere than become a closed off island within the world music scene (the so called “urban grove”) and tagged along to a performance by the babymaker.
So I went in there feeling that the best way was to inebriate myself as to be incapable of any form of critique which the crowd beside had since got tired of. All I needed to do was get high and “we gon be alright”, I sang to myself.
The club is well placed and I loved the vibe, we often don’t have a lot of places where we are free to be ourselves and as expatriates we have often been left with no option than to dance to the tunes we hardly relate to. So every home tune that dropped, I got down and broke a sweat moving to Winky D and Tuku, much to the puzzlement of my fellow revellers who hardly new the song.
You see, there are the reasons why I was in this place and all they were eager to see was Roki. I strongly feel he is past his time. He used to sing once but lost it somewhere between the many wives, substance abuse and lack of management. I certainly didn’t want to waste my hard earned money paying to see him try to perform. I ended up parting with a few coins to enter the club (seriously his show was worth 20rands) and it didn’t hurt after all.
By the time he performed, in the early hours of the morning, a few fans had filtered through and started to chant his name. I had by then exhausted myself dancing to mixes curtesy of Dj Hustle, who left me wanting more before he had to mix and play host to the on-the-run (still in the grapevine) artist.
The show kicked off as if it were a conversation between two friends, nothing spectacular to it. I had gathered enough information to know that it was not his show but rather he had been offered a slot within Dj Hustle’s slot. Such a good gesture from the young man who I found very talented but could have lost a good amount of money paying homage to a fallen hero in Zim’s musical scene.
When Roki went on stage, he introduced himself. I guess he thought it was wiser but wait, he had to because there was no MC in the place. I still felt it was ridiculously planned. After he managed to get the crowd to listen, he attempted to sing his first song and it ended there, in an attempt. The following part of the small part of his show was either him screeching to his high notes (Lord knows how he pulled them off at one time) or something going wrong with the backtrack and Dj. I understand music genres and this “urban grove” is not ideal for cueing over and over again unlike ragga music. He kept wanting to talk to the crowd and sing which he failed dismally. One could have easily picked up that this was not a show rehearsed and out of the braggadocio of the man himself, he thought he could pull it off but could not.
In an attempt to bring back the crowd in control, which by now could have been throwing tomatoes if they had and were getting bored by his repeat of the same song every time he sang one line, he lashed out at one fan and after a few exchanges went down the stage as if to beat up (something we have heard he is good at) the unhappy fan.
I was now even more interested in the show than I was initially and had moved closer and so when the incident occurred it was in full view. I believe the words he used cursing the lady fan is the five letter word too vulgar to write here but excessively used by taxi conductors (ma whindi) back home. That word our mothers can never hear us say to anyone and is a strong reference to the end of our large intestines, externally.
I believe the english translation would be that word which also refers to a cross breed between a donkey, horse and a hole! Just trying to keep my page clean as much as I can guys, you will forgive me for being not too blunt.
After this altercation, the show painfully ended much to the disgruntlement of the handful of fans in this small establishment. And despite a poorly disguised attempts to bring in his old friend, Dj Duse (pronounced as orange juice) who is now trying a hand in rapping, nothing came out of it except trying to calm down a few drunken fellas who were starting a row just close to the stage.
By this time I had completely convinced my travelling companions that we had wasted our money ( well, not really) and that my predictions of a guaranteed poor show had come to light.
In the end, Roki, whose real name is Rockford Josphat, had been relegated to the Dj box and looked like he was fixing a problem or two but was really just happy to hang out with the dj spinning the records. After the altercation, he was happy to promise the fans more but all knew what that meant and we sadly trickled out the same we did coming in.
It was a night out that turned too bad for my in-law who so badly wanted a great performance from Roki, but nothing turned out.
There have been many rise and falls within the music industry but none so rough, rocky and bouncy like that of Roki’s. He has seen it all and I believe if there is a music god above, looking out for him, he has certainly lost his willingness to heed the urban groover’s call. He is the epitome of being washed up and resembles nothing of his former self. It is sad to see him in such a state for he had promise at one time when Winky D was just a TV presenter. How things change.
I thought then during the show, how and autobiography of Roki would be good to read but then too sad for a lot of fans he is blessed to have. well, maybe another day.