Lest we forget ZimDancehall’s ritual ground: The City Sports Centre

All Zimdancehall artists, deejays and artists might fade and hibernate but this venue will remain firm and occupies a central place in the chapter of the Zimdancehall music, Kugomba ndikokumusha kwemangoma!

By Argus Mepo

City Sports Centre is a large purpose venue owned by the Harare City Council situated about Two Kilometres from Harare’s central business district and is attached to the Harare Show Grounds, where the annual Harare Agricultural Show takes place. It is a venue that accommodates a number of activities religious gatherings, political rallies, business conferences, entertainment concerts, social meetings and sports tournaments. One of the key events hosted at the venue is the annual Reggae / Dancehall concert held on the last day of the Harare Agricultural Show in August.

From the 1990s up to present the City Sports Centre “Kugomba” has been an assembly point of ghetto youths were they mix, mingle and interact all being done for the love of dancehall music. 

Annual contest for Dancehall Sound systems (Djs and MCs) became a tradition with the MC content (a battle of chanters) taking centre stage leading to the birth of the ZimDancehall movement.

Some of the artists in the dancehall fraternity, the likes of  Madcom, Daddy D, Major E, Badman, Culture Kid, King Labash, Winky D and Sniper Storm, to mention just a few managed to capitalise from the exposure they gained at City Sports.

The venue baptised, raised and natured the careers of many Zimdancehall superstars. Performing there was a golden opportunity that every artist was in dire need of. 

Champions were made and losers were created too. Performances at City Sports were also used as benchmarks to measure the relevance of an artist. Right now with the use of social media, almost every artist has been referred to as apera unlike back then when stage performance proved the otherwise .

Killer T, Kinnah, Seh Calaz, Soul Jah Love

It also holds a number of memorable events that will not be erased in the history of Zimdancehall. It annually hosted the Cup Clash in August, it also hosted the Ghetto vs Ghetto Clash in 2013 which put the Mbare boys Seh Calaz, the late Soul Jah Love and Kinnah on the limelight and also hosted the memorable Zimdancehall sting in 2014 which ended in disaster. Musically speaking, City Sports Centre is sacrosanct musical shrine that must always be respect by all musical lovers. 

As we speak, there is a crisis of hitsongs this year but back then, City Sports created hitsongs and halting of shows as well as the failure of artists to perform there has contributed to the shortage of hitsongs. We all know hitsongs like Seh Calaz’s City Sports, Killer T’s City Sports and Soul Jah Love’s Ndakamukwapaidza were inspired by the stunning perfomances they made at City Sports. 

The  post-Covid 19 City Sports Centre perfomances will not be the same again especially with the death of the late King of Dancehall Soul Jah Love who was the gatekeeper and the owner of this prestigious venue.

He would electrify  and charm scores of ghetto youths only with his introduction “Conquering”. There is now need to fill this big gap he left. 

Moreover with  the Covid-19 pandemic  the buck has been passed from the old school to the new school. There is also a higher probability that the likes of Nutty O, Poptain, Anita Jaxson, Jah Master will aggressively fit in the late Soul Jah Loves’s shoes,  dominate, conquer and own the City Sports Centre.