Sizzla Jets in Zimbabwe for 21st Feb Bash

REGGAE icon Sizzla Kalonji arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday to a rapturous welcome by his multitude of fans. Sizzla will perform at the 21st February Movement gala at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair grounds in Bulawayo tonight to celebrate President Mugabe's birthday.

Reggae fans thronged the Harare International Airport to welcome the renowned Jamaican reggae star who is on his maiden visit to Zimbabwe. Sizzla said he was honoured to be in Zimbabwe to grace birthday celebrations of a great revolutionary leader and Pan-Africanist who is fighting to uplift the livelihoods marginalised Africans -- President Mugabe.

"I'm on a back to Africa mission by myself and it is an honour to be in Zimbabwe for myself (and), the government of Jamaica and I couldn't refuse such an honour of being invited to perform at the President's birthday," he said.

Welcoming the Jamaican, Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu said Sizzla, who already has a track called Zimbabwe, was walking the same road that the late Bob Marley walked in 1980.

The legendary Marley performed at Zimbabwe's Independence Day on April 18, 1980.

"You are coming to perform for a man who stands for all the down-trodden people around the world. A man who symbolises the spirit of Pan-Africanism and like Bob Marley who made a record for our country, you have replayed his song," Minister Shamu said.

Born Miguel Collins, Sizzla's trip was made possible by the collaborative efforts of Shumba Instrumentation frontman Nhamo Chitimbe, the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.

Chitimbe said his company was on a mission to bring many reggae artists to Zimbabwe.

"Sizzla had to forego lucrative shows in Europe just to be with us.

"On behalf of Shumba Instrumentation, I thank all the people who came to welcome our brethren and this is just the start. We won't be stopping in our efforts to bring the best of Jamaica's artistes," said Mr Chitimbe.

Sizzla will perform at the gala with a number of local artistes including Josphat Somanje, Zexie Manatsa, Mai naBaba Charamba, Tanga Wekwa Sando, Cde Chinx, Iyasa among others.

Regional artistes who will grace the occasion include the Soul Brothers and Mzwake Mbuli (SA) and DRC groups Real Sounds and Beaux Gosses.

Mungwadzi Godwin

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