CHAOS rocked the much-hyped Jamaican singer Busy Signal’s concert on Saturday at the Glamis Stadium in Harare, as riot police attacked Winky D’s manager, Jonathan Banda, forcing the “Ninja President” camp to abort their performance in protest.
Although Jonathan, who had gone to pick up some band members, identified himself as Winky D’s manager, police officers manning the VIP entrance thought he was troublesome and assaulted him with batons. Banda reportedly suffered some injuries and was taken to a private hospital, where he was treated and discharged.
NewsDay witnessed the police bashing several revellers, as they tried to control the crowds just outside the venue.
Winky D yesterday took to social network Facebook to explain his no show at the concert, saying the situation was an exception.
“It is with a heavy heart that l wish to announce the reason for my no show yesterday (Saturday). l have always religiously fulfilled my contractual obligations to all promoters l would have agreed terms with.
“As my band was trying to access the venue through the VIP gate, they were seriously beaten by the officers, who were manning (the gate). They raised a distress call to management, which Banda reacted swiftly to try and solve the issues,” he wrote.
Winky D said his manager had to endure malice from three officers, who then assaulted him with batons till he passed out.
“As the master of ceremony was making that announcement for us to come on stage, l was helplessly watching my bredren wriggle in pain under the watchful eye of hospital staff. He was discharged later and referred for further specialist attention.
“We remain hopeful that he gets better and did not sustain irreversible damage,” he said.
Show organiser Biggie Chinoperekwei yesterday said he was yet to get a detailed report of what happened leading to Banda’s assault.
“I have had from rumours that Winky D’s manager was attacked, but I do not have the full details. I will get back to you as soon as I get the facts,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from the police were fruitless yesterday.
Away from the off-stage mayhem, Busy Signal, backed by his live band, proved he was a man on a mission to entertain, as he put up a top-notch performance that left fans clamouring for more.
“I have been to a number of African countries, but I must say that the Zimbabwean crowd is the best. What we’re having here is really powerful and I wanna say much love to everybody up in this place,” he said.
Although he started off with unfamiliar songs he nailed it in the second and third segments, belting popular hits such as Reggae Music Again, The Gambler, Swag Tun Up, Dreams of Brighter Days, Wicked Evil Man featuring Esco Levi, One More Night, Bedroom Bully and Watch Out For This (Bumaye), much to the delight of thousands of fans who thronged the venue.
The show, organised by Partson Chimbodza of Chipaz Promotions and Chinoperekwei of Devine Assignments, was however a well-attended affair, with Information, Communication and Technology and Courier Services minister Super Mandiwanzira also in attendance.
“That was a five-star performance by Busy Signal. He proved why he is a favourite. He put up a complete performance that shows he is a serious contender of reggae dancehall,” said a fan, who identified himself as Azele.
Local artistes, who shared the stage with Busy Signal proved their mettle, with Dadza D performing with a live band, Killer T, Soul Jah Love and Jah Prayzah putting up top-drawer acts.
When Jah Prayzah wrapped up his stint to make way for Winky D, it emerged that the Kambuzuma-bred chanter had left the venue in protest following the police assault on his manager.
The organisers were forced to switch off the public address system after the Tsviriyo singer’s performance, resulting in turmoil, as rowdy fans started throwing missiles, calling for Winky D.
The venue was reduced into a war zone and many fled the scene in movie style.
“I feel cheated by Chipaz. I had come here to witness the Ninja president performing only to discover that he was not available. This is robbery,” said a fan. Chinoperekwei however, said he was stunned by Busy Signal’s performance.
“Of all the Jamaicans’ who have performed here, Busy Signal has proved to be the best with his par excellence energetic performance that was worth fans’ cash,” he said.
Templeman and Gary B, DJ Cables, Judgment Yard Sounds and Smiley rocked it on the turntables. The Saturday concert was part of the Jamaican artist’s African tour that will also see him perform in Malawi on next Saturday.