For fiery sungura musician Paradzai Mesi (52), an unfortunate incident that landed him in trouble, including being dragged before the courts, has ironically been the source of his resurgence in music.
In fact, before the case in which he was accused of having stolen some groceries from a shop at Kiyawora Farm in Concession where he lived, many had written off Mesi’s musicial career.
Many demons appeared to follow the Njerama Boys band leader, mainly arising from his well documented love for alcohol that made him abandon everything that matters, including his blossoming musical career.
But now it appears the demons are disappearing one by one, thanks to wellwishers who came to his rescue and set his musical career back on track.
Not that Mesi is already back at the top of his game, far from it, but signs are there that if he remains focused he can scale the dizzy heights once more.
In an interview with our vernacular sister paper Kwayedza at his new home in Chief Nyamadzawo’s area in Seke where fellow musician Mudiwa Hood is renting for him, Mesi said his life had changed following the incident when he was arrested and accused of stealing groceries from the shop.
The singer, who was born in the Madziva area, Mashonaland Central, was arrested and taken to court in Concession on charges of shoplifting.
The owner of the shop then withdrew the charges.
“I didn’t steal; I was thrown into a the shop when I was drunk by people who stole the groceries,” said Mesi.
“They wanted it to appear as if I was the one who stole.
“But this issue acted as a blessing in disguise. There are good people out there. Mudiwa Hood came to my rescue and is renting this house for me. I thank him for giving me a year while I live here and then see what I can do thereafter.”
But it seems Mesi and his beer will be hard to separate.
He said he loves his alcohol so much that he cannot quit anytime soon.
The musician further jokingly said if it was possible, he would have been given the position of ‘minister in charge of alcohol’ in the country.
Mesi was drunk when Kwayedza visited him at his home last Monday.
He said he could not give up on alcohol, jokingly saying some people make a living by selling it, hence they need to sustain their families.
“I wish I was made the Minister of Alcohol because I can’t be different from alcohol,” he jokingly said. “I say that I should let those who brew alcohol shut down first. You, Mapupu (this writer), maybe to go to school, your mother might have been brewing kachasu, so if it wasn’t for that alcohol, you wouldn’t have gone to school.”
Mesi said he is in good books with the people in Seke where he is staying.
“It’s been two weeks since I came here to Seke and as a person who travels by bus, I get off at Murape Secondary School and go to my home,” he said. “My family and I came to a beautiful house which has tiles, electricity and running water. This house has five rooms.
“There is a large chicken coop and I want to start a project to raise chickens for eggs or broilers and help my family, especially my wife, to raise money.”
Mesi dismissed rumours that he was staying at a much bigger house in Harare.
“I’m not worried that where I live is not in Harare because you don’t choose when being helped, you just accept what is there,” he said. “There are many in cities who don’t live in a nice house like the one I’m living in right now.
“There are a lot of foes around, including some musicians, who don’t want to see my life doing well and are telling people who are helping me to stop, saying they are helping the wrong person. I can name the singers who are doing that.”
Speaking about his family situation, Mesi said: “I once joined an apostolic church where I was about to be elevated to high position because I had many wives, up to seven or eight, and I had 14 children.
“But now I am staying with seven children and the first wife. I came here with my wife.” Mesi warned those discouraging others from helping him.
“You have some people with big names in the music industry who are saying I shouldn’t be helped, but these musicians have never helped me even with little things. They must just stay away from my issues.”
Mesi thanked those helping to get back on his feet. He is staying with some of his band members at his new home.
“I am now having shows,” he said. “Last Saturday we were in Dzivaresekwa where we played at Dziva Bar. Those who are saying my music career has ended should know there are a lot of people out there who love me and my music.
“Those who want to hire my band, we are ready with the full band. I have my three children in the band and other members to make 12 members. “We have four guitars and we are ready to play even right now.”
Mudiwa Hood could not be contacted to shed more light on how he is helping Mesi.
Mrs Taurai Viyola (43), one of Mesi’s neighbours in Seke, said the community welcomed him.
“Things can go bad like what had happened to Paradzai Mesi, but we welcomed him, he is one of us and we will support him. We will never view him like a thief as portrayed by some media.”