By Darlington Gatsi
THE clock struck midnight, fireworks painted the sky a motley of colours, and then, from the depths of the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), a thunderous roar erupted.
Born Wallace Chirumiko, Winky D, the undisputed king of Zimdancehall, was about to take the stage.
This was not an ordinary night.
This was a celebration; of two decades of musical dominance, two decades of captivating the nation with his lyrical poetry and social commentary prowess.
Dubbed the Ghettocracy Score: Reading Through The Pages Of Rokesheni, Winky D was not going to hold anything back on this historic night.
A low rumble echoed through HICC, sending shivers down spines.
With “Ndiri Rasta” providing a perfect soundtrack, Winky D emerged, in a red boxing robe inscribed “Bigman 20”, gloves laced tight with a belt around his waist.
Behind him, a boxing ring, ropes taut and gleaming, materialized almost magically. The crowd roared, a primal mix of surprise and awe.
Winky D, the dancehall king stepped into the ring which symbolised a theatre of battles that the dreadlocked muso has fought in his 20-year career.
That he belted his early hits and his fight-like appearance was a demonstration of how Winky D rose from the dust of poverty in the high density of Kambuzuma to being catapulted to stardom.
The first notes of a familiar tune struck up, “ndiri rasta”, a classic from his early days, kicked off the first round – discovering ghetto craft – a trip down memory lane when Winky D was still nascent in the industry.
He could not have conjured a better outfit as his career has been characterised by fighting – peers in the industry and political forces bent on stifling his voice – emerging victorious from these battles.
Winky D approached his historic night on the back of a blackout on his music by State media which is deemed political.
“From 2004 up until 2024, 2023 was the most difficult year for me musically,” said Winky D.
He added: “I could not get an interview on the radio for the show. I only had the internet and dreams and then you (fans).”
Winky D rarely openly speaks out in public but uses his artistry to convey his feelings and messages on the stage in his pulpit.
With the new year’s night fading away, Winky D had not just conquered the stage; he had conquered time.
As the first rays of dawn dared to peek over the horizon, multitudes leaving HICC in droves, Winky D illuminated the music scene demonstrating his resilience in the face of storms.