Winky D is one artist whose lyrics will continue to inspire you long after the track has stopped playing. His emotionally charged lyrics are the opposite of his soft spoken and sociable personality.
His ghetto schooling was a prophetic reflection of the powerful lyrics which have become his life. He is armed with a hunger for educating the people about the group of people very much taken for granted and life taken for a joke.
On the other hand, his love lyrics inspire people to love others truly, for what they are not reflections of their images of what they want them to be.
By Plot Mhako, May 2011
Born Wallace Chirumiko on 1 February 1983 in Harare, Winky D become the new icon for Zimbabwean urban/reggae music with nicknames like, “King of Dancehall” and “The BigMan”, being attached to him in the ghettos making him a 21stCentury social commentator who came into the industry with a smashing effect with an appeal cutting across the demographics of the Zimbabwean social strata.
Plot Mhako caught up with the youthful soft spoken entertainer for an exclusive and in-depth look at the man and the mission.Winky D describes himself as the “poor people’s devotee” whose purpose is to stand for the cause of uplifting the poor people in society, speaking on behalf of the poor masses, lives amongst the people, senses and perceives with the poor people and voices the feelings of the poor people.
He grew up in Harare’s Kambuzuma high density suburb and just like any other ghetto youth with parents struggling to put food on the table for the extended family, school fees and all other basics. This put in a culture of struggle which led him to value the Rastafari principles of humility and righteousness, in other words struggle for survival, strive to be the best but always share with everyone around you.
Winky reckons that he always showed a lively interest in music ever since his childhood years as the mother confirms. Having featured in the “Ghetto lane clashes” at a very tender age against elderly contestants, and his victories in these contests earned him great respect amongst the fans who gave him the nickname Winky D from Wicked Deejay.
With the help of Bartholomew Vera of BlackLab Records, Winky D went into the recording studio in 2004. His first songs in like Rasta and Head Inna War coupled by his ingenious stage performance set the dance floors very busy. Ever since Winky D has not turned back, he has released five albums with many charts hits which made him fans across the world, evidenced by his successful tours of the United Kingdom and South Africa.
However it was through unimaginable airplay and acceptance of his 2008 album Vanhu Vakuruwhich carried the anthemsVanotauraand Rokesheni that he broke into stardom and his stint on the local national TV ZBC’s Lovers Rock program added a feather to his cap.
The emotionally charged ragga sensation has earned himself a household name in Zimbabwe through his umpteenth lyrics that talk about issues that people dare talk about, with the aid of social satire and out of this world rhyme.
Defending his lyrics which at times have invoked controversies Winky D went on to say,
“My lyrics have no boundaries, I believe that only companies can be limited. I always go beyond the limit when it comes to writing lyrics , in fact I am the Bigman Unlimited.
I sing about life and life is unlimited, it is abundant, especially what I relate to, that is the lives of the poor people which are infested with too many problems for me to afford being limited, new problems are coming in when the old ones have not yet been addressed. The poor people’s problems are chronic and complex and its now up to my lyrics to devise strategies for going around all these problems. That is what drives me to be different every time”
The reggaestar virtually performs on a daily basis and continues to tour nationally and reaching out to the Zimbabweans in the diaspora and has featured at almost all international artists tours to Zimbabwe by the likes of Akon, Sean Paul, Beanie Man and Luciano amongst others. Winky is driven by the love for nature to which poor people are the majority and seeks to merely assert himself as a voice to people’s daily circumstances. The last year edition of Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA acknowledged his lyrical prowess saying, “He combines high energy vocals and heartfelt lyrics with an irresistible rhythmic undercurrent that bears testament to reggae and dancehall, punctuated throughout with elements of hip hop, pop and R&B”
His music is easily heard from every commuter bus, radio stations, party and phones with youths visibly mimicking his verbatim a clear indication of the level of influence he has on the younger generation which he hopes will foster a sense of pride and dignity through a no holds barred verbal assault saying,
“These are social ills making the poor poorer, so youths should be wise and realise that life over death, good over evil and guidance over impulse. However, usually poor people take these whilst trying to adapt to harsh conditions but hey, this is no escape route, we just have to stay focussed”
Most Zimbabwean youthful artists have for years failed to add clout to their live performances by using back tracks for live acts which they attribute to huge costs of maintaining a band. The lone artist who is normally accompanied by celebrated dancehall dj and long time friend Templeman has set his eyes on performing with a live band and had hoped to debut at the Capleton concert which he pulled out from at the last minute over a contractual fallout.
Despite the great fame and celebrity status he has earned, Winky vows to remain humble insisting that there is nothing to celebrate about if the ghetto still suffers like they do. “My mission is far from over, i will only get famous when poverty stops wreaking havoc to the poor. I remain the same ninja on a mission struggling to uplift the living standards of poor people. I am still the same humble ghetto youth struggling to be heard.”
Riding on the wave of his last album titled Igofigo,Winky releases mix tapes and singles from time to time making use of internationally acclaimed dancehall riddims giving his music a global feel and keeping the dance floors alight. He promises hit after hit for the ensuing year and beyond.
The article was written in May 2011 by Plot Mhako and published in Rootz Africa Magazine. I had to republish this article in light of his latest release titled Parliament. A hard hitting politically charged song that reaffirms that he has always been the “Poor People`s Devotee”.
Recent Interview of Winky D on CNN`s AFRICAN VOICES.