Solomon Skuza was a popular contemporary Zimbabwean musician who rose to prominence in the 1980s with his hit Banolila which sold over 75 000 copies. He best known for his critical political message filled lyrics.

Solomon Skuza
Skuza.jpg
Born Solomon Skuza
December 13, 1956
Other names Jah Solo
Occupation
  • Singer
  • Songwriter
Years active 1970s–1995
Children Chase Skuza

Contents

Background

Skuza was born on 13 of December 1954 in Plumtree. His younger brother, Chase Skuza is also a popular musician[1] having released a number of singles which rocked the airwaves.

Music career

Skuza started music as a singer is guerrilla camps in Zambia before Zimbabwe attained its independence. When he returned to Zimbabwe he then formed band The Fallen Heroes. The band was largely composed of those who had become incapacitated to participate in the war front. The band name was a tribute to those who had lost their loved in the war and to give encouragement to those still fighting. Skuza's songs were largely in the Kalanga language until the early 1990s when he started singing in English.

Skuza went on to release the LP Zihlangene which carried songs such as Jennifer, Sobhuku and I'quino Aliso.[2] The band's popularity rose only after independence with the song Banolila which was a major hit and is said to have sold some 75,000 copies.

With the shift to English in 1990, Skuza's music also shifted from the fast-paced Kalanga music to reggae.

Love and Scandal album

In 1990, Skuza released the album 'Love and Scandal' which had tracks with political commentary especially on corruption in the country. The album earned Skuza earned the nickname 'Jah Solo'. Some of the songs, like the title track Love and Scandal, spoke about the the Willowgate Scandal. In the track, Skuza accused the leaders of betraying the ideals of the liberation struggle after independence. In one song Skuza sings:

“How can someone buy a car and sell it again? Everybody wants to know! Even the povo wants to know!" [3]
It is alleged the song was composed in apparent reference to the Willowgate Scandal were government officials bought cars at a lower rate and resold them for a huge profit.

In the song JFCI Skuza sings about corruption and his optimism that it's going to be fought until it ends: He sings:

“…I was the only one who was left out when the JFCI came into our town to do their investigation. They said we gonna fight and fight and fight; We gonna fight and fight and fight, to end corruption[….], I know they gonna fight and fight and fight to end corruption

[3]

In another song titled Stop Crying (Esap) Skuza sings about the misery of the common people because of the programs like ESAP (Economic Structural Adjustment Programme). He assures his brother and sister that these problems are going to go away some day. He sings:

“…No, no, no brother stop crying No, no, no sister stop crying[ …]*2 No, no, no brother stop crying[ …] But how come you look so sad?[ …] You got to be strong; you got to be Brave and accept the changes Even if we hide under the table Even if we close our eyes, ESAP Will find you[------] No, no, no brother stop crying ESAP Will be over one day[ …]*2 Just like the devil looking for a Sinner, ESAP is gonna find you[...]”

[3]

Death and Legacy

In 1995 Skuza became ill and later passed away.

Skuza was a liberation war fighter with the ZIPRA and was disabled from war injuries. [3]

Skuza's son Chase also did a remix for the song Banolila featuring the talented dance group, Iyasa the video was played generously on the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation TV.

References

  1. Skuza’s legacy lives on, Published: 5 Apr 2011, Retrieved: 14 Apr 2011
  2. Barbara McCrea, Tony Pinchuck, The Rough Guide to Zimbabwe, Page:337."Rough Guides", 2000
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Thamsanqa Moyo, Unsung, ignored or underrated? A look at Solomon Skuza’s songs in the context of contemporary Zimbabwe’s socio-political and economic environment,Academic Journals, Published: October 29, 2013, Retrieved: July 3, 2014,