The government has opened up the public transport system after two full years and litigation is in process.That means the return of Zim dancehall playlist to the masses as it is the culture of kombi (comuter omnibus) drivers and conductors to play Zim dancehall music. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, kombi drivers played a pivotal role in pushing the Zim dancehall genre. This type of music has never been the same since the banning of kombis in early 2020. Some of the Zim dancehall artists popularised by kombis include Killer T especially his undisputed album “Ngoma ndaimba”. Others include Silent Killer, Hwindi President, Ras Pomby and Seh Calaz only to mention a few.
Rhibe, one of the co-owners of Chillspot Recordz, said that kombis (commuter omnibuses) were one of the main distributors of Zim dancehall before the lockdown, a measure meant to curb the rapid spread of Covid 19. The private commuter omnibuses contributed to the rise of many Zim dancehall artists.
Since the lockdown, the main distributors of Zimdancehall have been unable to influence the travelling masses. Consequently, Zimdancehall music has been sidelined and the music scene has never been the same. Now that private players will be allowed back on the road, Zim dancehall will also be back on the mainstream music scene. This will, primarily, be mainly because kombis are an easy, free and efficient distribution mechanism to promote music. Before the outbreak of the deadly corona virus, some artists were said to have actually given conductors CDs for free for them to play throughout the day.
Most of Zim dancehall artists cannot stand the heat in the cut-throat competition on social media platforms. This emanates from the fact that they are financially incapacitated because of their backgrounds. It is also important to note that data has become so expensive in Zimbabwe that Zim dancehall artists, and indeed other members of the society, have no access to the internet and sites which can promote music. Some of the sites in question include Facebook, Youtube and Spotify. Moreover, the ordinary people do not have access to streaming sites where they can view music which is trending.
These days mainstream music in Zim is dominated by hip-hop, drill and dancehall music belonging to artists who are already famous. As we wait anxiously for the developments, artists, producers and distributors keep their fingers crossed. The wait is for the rain and the hope is it won’t be a harvest of thorns.