The Sunday Mail
NO walk-ins were allowed that night. The chairs in the venue tallied with the number of invited guests.
A red carpet lay on a newly paved driveway leading to the back of Jah Prayzah’s Belvedere offices where a roomy, trendy marquee provided shelter as a downpour was threatening.
Photographers carrying massive modern equipment snapped pictures of guests as they arrived.
Beautiful models ushered guests to their seats upon arrival, which were neatly divided into VIP and VVIP — there was no room for ordinary people that night — even journalists were treated to all kinds of delights.
This was high-flying musician Jah Prayzah’s video launch for the song “Angel-Lo”, a collaboration with king of lovers rock and roots reggae, Jah Cure, which was shot in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
All of Jah Prayzah’s rich praise-singers were in the house, led by none other than the bling godfather himself, Philip “PC” Chiyangwa.
Talk of “the youngest millionaire” Mike Chimombe, under fire tender-preneur Wicknell Chivhayo, former AAG president Chamu Chiwanza, businessman Tinashe Mutarisi of Nash Paints, among many other ostentatious businessmen.
Socialite-cum-businesswoman Wanisayi Mutandwa aka Mahwindo, top businessman-cum-music promoter Tich Mharadze, Jive Zimbabwe boss Benji Nyandoro and Kadoma entrepreneur Cossy Rules were among the easily recognisable faces at the forefront of Zimbabwean showbiz.
But among the aforementioned plus top print and broadcast journalists, club and radio DJs, business executives, artistes and a few other carefully handpicked guests at the glitzy affair, was an “unusual” guest, popular traditional healer Sekuru Banda.
While some of the above-mentioned people were scattered in the crowd with the rest of the B-listers on the night, Sekuru Banda was perched in the VVIP enclosure of the expensively put together tent-venue.
Conspicuous due to his bulky male companions (bodyguards) that followed him everywhere, and clad in a trendy but jumbled up outfit, Sekuru Banda rubbed shoulders with Zimbabwe’s showbiz elite.
The celebrity Malawian-born sangoma, who operates from Cranebone, Harare, is known for his fondness to trade his traditionalist healer’s garb in favour of stylish suits and other fashionable apparel. On the night, he looked every inch part of the A-listers, what with his female companion and suited security. But fashion police would have arrested him though.
In an interview on the side lines of the swanky gathering, Sekuru Banda, aka Dr Kamwelo Banda, praised Jah Prayzah for his hard work, saying the two often chat on the phone and have become very close.
“He is the one who invited me here. He gave me a call and I was very excited about it that is why I’m here,” said Sekuru Banda, adding, “Jah Prayzah is like a young brother to me now. I like his music because it is rooted in traditionalism and his message is on point plus everyone can listen to Jah Prayzah, from young kids to old men and women.”
Sekuru Banda said he was happy to see the young businessmen who attended the event, which morphed into a birthday bash for Chiwanza, “assisting and supporting Jah Prayzah”.
The “Kutonga Kwaro” hit-singer got US$10 000 from Wicknell Chivayo. The affable Sekuru Banda, whose traditional healing services are being sought by people of all classes, races and religious beliefs, said he had a special gift for Jah Prayzah, which he would quietly give to him, away from the crowds.
At the event, Jah Prayzah had a chat with Sekuru Banda and the two posed for photographs. However, in an interview with this publication, Jah Prayzah’s manager Keen Mushapaidze tried to distance his boss from the charismatic sangoma, saying the traditional healer had piggybacked on invited guests from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.
“We have actually been wondering who the guarded Nigerian-looking man is. Oh, it’s Sekuru Banda,” said Mushapaidze animatedly.
He later telephoned this writer with “clarification” that Sekuru Banda had been part of the ZTA delegation to the video launch. Mushapaidze then provided us with contacts for Sekuru Banda’s assistant for further clarification. The mobile number was unavailable.
Sekuru Banda, who spots dark glasses, stylish headgear, expensive leather jackets and is often mistaken for a rhumba artiste, is now one of the most sought-after radio and television programme guests.
He joins a rare breed of flamboyant faith and traditional healers, herbalists and spiritualists who lead extravagant lifestyles.