The Sunday Mail
When a 13-year-old boy earning a cool US$2 000 on a good month skips school even for a single day, it would be no surprise for the rumour mill to run on overdrive.Of late the grapevine has been awash with information that child star, Ras Pompy, real name Nyasha Reginald Mano, has quit school to pursue his music career full time.
However, it has emerged that Ras Pompy, who is doing Form One at Morgan High School in Arcadia, is in the process of transferring to another school. The child star says he has no interest whatsoever to drop out of school.
The Sunday Mail Leisure caught up with one of Zim dancehall’s youngest and most exciting artistes on Wednesday at his home in Mbare’s Jo’burg Lines where he lives with his elder brother Regis, mother and young cousin.
Both his elder brother and mother are unemployed. The mother, Ms Alinetty Matimura, used to be a cross-border trader and her small business kept the family going for a little while after the death of her husband in 2001.
However, she gave that up as it was not as rewarding as she would have wanted. Her 21-year-old son, the oldest, fixes people’s cars here and there and gets a few dollars probably just enough for a meal or two.
Over the years, Ras Pompy’s uncle, his late father’s brother, has been paying his school fees.
Today, the boy carries the weight of his family on his small shoulders, sharing with them all that he makes during shows.
During the week he is Reginald as he goes to school with his peers and when he goes back home with some homework he is Nyasha as his mother fondly calls him.
But when Friday arrives, he assumes another character, Ras Pompy the chanter emerges. His catchphrase “Tings turn up, Ras Pompy clean up” has endeared him to his fans of varying ages.
As a guiding principle, Ras Pompy never takes any midweek gigs.
“On average I perform two shows per week but sometimes the demand can be more or less. This translates to about eight shows per month, sometimes they can be seven. My standard fee is US$250, which can also vary upwards or downwards depending on the type of the show. So on a really good month I take home about US$2 000 but it seldom goes below US$1 000 no matter how bad a month is. I give the money to my mother to buy groceries, pay my school fees and budget for my bus fare,” said Ras Pompy.
His proud mother said she also buys certain luxuries like electrical gadgets and trendy clothes for him.
At 13, sustaining his family, carrying around an I-pad, smart phone and obviously some cash in his wallet, one would expect Ras Pompy to become big-headed.
However, his brother Regis says he still remains mystified at the way his younger brother remains grounded.
“He knows that he earns way better than all of us at home yet he is still the little brother who will rush to fetch water for me or to the shops to buy things for the house and so forth.
“When he is playing with his friends it is unbelievable to imagine that it is the same boy who makes all that money,” said Regis.
But for how long will his mother, brother and handlers continue to protect Ras Pompy from the obvious dangers like alcohol, drugs and even women?
“We have done our best in ensuring that Nyasha is surrounded by good company and is brought home immediately after shows. He does not go to nightclubs or to music shows to hang out, he goes there only to perform.
“His character as well has played a crucial part. He knows he is still a child and only engages in the activities expected of his age, he plays with boys of his age and listens to our mother, me and his manager Fantan,” said Regis.
Ras Pompy, who has released over 40 singles to date, recorded his first song when he was just eight years old.
“I recorded my first song, ‘Mwari Baba’, when I was in Grade 3. From there I never stopped composing and recording, and by the time I was in Grade 6, it was almost common knowledge that I was a singer,” said the energetic young chanter.
Ras Pompy, who says he got the moniker from his friends in the neighbourhood, was hugely inspired by fellow Zim dancehall artiste Kinnah.
“If you look closely you will realise that Kinnah is very popular around here. He is one of the few artistes that my generation watched perform and we could relate with his message. He has a huge impact in my life. He inspired me and continues to do so even today,” he said.
Among Ras Pompy’s hit songs are “Style & Pattern”, “Tobhilivha na Most High”, “Tochivharira”, “Change Giya” and “Mwari Baba”, to name just a few.
He has collaborated with many upcoming and established artistes including Kinnah and Killer T.