The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
TAKING a leaf out of the book written by his mentor Oskido, who discovered and introduced to the world Jah Seed, a Shona-chanting wordsmith, South African superstar Professor has managed to convince his own Zimbabwean protégé, Diliza, to take up the language for his latest single, as he reintroduces himself to Kwaito lovers in Mzansi.
To many kwaito fans, Diliza is largely seen as a South African act, due to his close ties to Professor and his verse hard-hitting kwaito verses that are delivered not only in a distinctly deep voice but usually in fluent isiZulu.
However, recently, a bolt of inspiration seems to have struck the Proper Files boss, who told his protégé to deliver a chorus for his upcoming single, in Shona. The song, titled Azvibhadare, features Professor and Pex Africah.
According to Diliza, Professor fell in love with Shona verses delivered over kwaito beats after spending some time with members of Bongo Maffin. Bongo Maffin front man Jah Seed, a one-time Bulawayo Polytechnic student, was discovered by Oskido after he jumped on stage during a performance in Bulawayo. Oskido then convinced the chant to deliver verses only in Shona once in South Africa.
“I said when we get there, I want you to pick up Shona culture because I loved the Shona language. When I hear the lyrical thing (I get excited) because I love the African languages when I develop the thing (music),” Oskido revealed in a past interview.
Diliza said a vein similar inspiration had seemingly struck the serial kwaito hitmaker.
“One thing that might have made him push for this is that it happened only a week after we celebrated Speedy of Bongo Maffin’s birthday. During that time, he spent a bit of time with the likes of Jah Seed and I think hearing some of their music just sparked something in him and the next thing he came to me and he was like, ‘Diliza why don’t you also do something like this’. He is someone whose creative input I respect so when he came with the idea, I was all ears and also every eager to implement it,” he told Sunday Life.
Diliza said his label boss felt that while his verses were always appreciated, he might perhaps languish under his shadow while his music was made in isiZulu.
“He felt that while I’m doing my songs in Isizulu while working under him, I might not get as much of the spotlight as I would if I was doing the songs in Shona. So, basically, he thought it was a better way for me to shine and that is something that I appreciate. I understand that he felt I would be under his shadow and people would not really appreciate my true identity because after hearing all the music that I have released so far, they think I am another South African act. So, his inspiration was also to do something that would shock listeners and have them asking who exactly is this who is singing with Professor in Shona,” he said.
Diliza said the single, which is set for release at the end of the month, was largely a creation by Professor, who showed him the advantage of making a song in Shona.
“You know sometimes Professor just has this thing where he just feels like a certain artiste will fit better on a certain song. So, on that day, he just felt that I would fit on that song because he had already been working with Pex and they had a beat and he had already laid one of his verses. So, I got a call from him and he was basically asking me to come to his home, where the studios are and that is what I did.
“It was also basically his idea that I do my chorus in Shona. The funny thing is that he even gave me the tune to sing. He just said, sing it this way, but make sure that you do it in Shona and that is what we did. I’m glad that the song came out the way it did because that was Prof’s vision. Sometimes, as an artiste you get the inspiration to do things in a certain way and it’s pleasing when the results come out in the vision that you had when you were imagining the track,” he said.