Dashocca Lambasts Crystal Meth Abuse In Zimbabwe in the Lyric Video 'Vana Vaparara,' Cries Out To Bigger Headz To Take Action

By Takudzwa Hillary Chiwanza 

In almost every Zimbabwean urban settlement (cannot authoritatively say much about rural communities), the drug called crystal meth (in local parlance dombo, guka, bhavava, gunda, marocks, mapuwe, mutoriro, mushen'enene) has caused headaches and untold turmoil for civilians - the urban youth are consumed with the drug, exerting undue pressures on their parents/guardians, other family members, and in the community.

Snapshot from Dashocca's lyric video for Vana Vaparara in which he criticizes crystal meth drug abuse in Zimbabwe. Part of his "social responsibility" if you fancy.

Crystal meth usage in Zimbabwe has been documented by other publications, and with the debilitating effects of the pandemic-induced lockdowns and lifestyle disruptions, meth has become a drug of choice for many a youth. Some who are still even going to school. The situation on crystal meth elicited some ephemeral police response after some users on the internet, particularly on Facebook, continuously lamented about the drug abuse scourge and even snitched out some popular bases in Harare and its surrounding regions.

The drug, which is a highly powerful stimulant, can cause a user to spend 3 days plus while awake - without even sleeping at all. All the while, the user loses appetite and has a general dislike for food (explaining the dramatic weight loss). Meth users experience physical changes to their bodies, but the dangerous effects occur in their frame - they become euphoric, with irresistible sensations of feeling as if they are in control of everything.

This scourge, which we have likened to the crack epidemic of the 1980s in the United States is destroying promising futures. We have likened it to the crack epidemic because its widescale usage and affordability is in all honesty a new phenomenon in Zimbabwe.

As the youths - and some elderly civilians - are consuming this addictive drug, they are trapping themselves in perpetual cycles of addiction in which family ties and friendships are painfully severed. This in a country that is ill-equipped to deal with mental health cases (considering the burden that COVID-19 has thrust on the country's already ailing health sector).

Enter Dashocca. He is a dancehall artist [of the hardcore subgenre, titled MaHelmetswe once covered about its rise] who has been in the musical trenches since circa 2013-14. There is a freestyle video of him battling Soul Jah Love on YouTube shot in 2014 – proving that he is not a newcomer in Zimbabwe’s dancehall spaces. If anything, Dashocca [among other notable dancehall artists such as Eyetal Fyah, I-Ratty, Guzu Kangarue, Jahnoz and Mr. Syncleer] has led to the proliferation of Helmet ZimDancehall in Zimbabwe’s urban spaces. And to a lesser extent rural spaces. One cannot talk of the Helmet movement in Zimbabwe without mentioning the name Dashocca. Excluding Dashocca in the narrative of Zimbabwean Dancehall – in all its variegated forms – is a serious abomination.

Dashocca’s brand of music, which is on similar wavelengths with the artists mentioned above (and many others), exudes elements of quintessence, though such quintessence cannot be dissected without the nuances of consumption (consumerism/materialism) gleaned via the context of urban areas in a [cruel, unequal] capitalist Zimbabwe. Their dancehall music is highly appealing, but behind the scenes there is much substance consumption (in line with the materialism/consumerism of urban contexts) to enhance creativity. And honestly, it works. It works.

The substances (drugs) of choice for many artists [for emphasis here, Helmet Dancehall artists] include alcohol, codeine cough syrup (Broncleer, Histalix – what is commonly referred to as PP, etc.), crystal meth, and pills. The artists flaunt their consumption via their lyrics. And who consumes urban music such as dancehall or hip-hop? The urban youth, mostly. They are also inspired to take these substances via those lyrics. Amidst a host of other societal pressures that demand escapism in its highest form. The only substance which cannot be considered in the class of drugs is marijuana/cannabis – it is a glorious herb. Though considered a gateway drug by some. Which we dispute (that is a story for another day).

Dashocca alternatively calls himself Gukar Daddy [Meth Daddy] – and it is obvious this has largely contributed to his street cred in dancehall circles. It is the name he chants when he starts or ends his songs. It is a name his fans are familiar with. Fair and fine. As artists, we give them the exemption of responsible consumption. We trust they can control their consumption levels of substances. But what of the disillusioned youth?

In the song Vana Vaparara we see a Dashocca divorced from exalting drugs, but still clinging on to the legitimacy of the name Gukar Daddy. In the song he says that some people thought he is a meth distro simply because he called himself Gukar Daddy – he suggests that such a title is simply him exercising artistic freedom. In the song, it’s like he wears a cloak of penitence – “I shouldn’t have glorified tsomu tsomu and para [the local slang for the effects of meth on a user’s mind, with para being a reference to the paranoia and hallucinations the drug causes].” Because he has previous songs such as Gukarmacafella in which he details the effects of guka, he fights really hard in Vana Vaparara to highlight the harmful effects of crystal meth on the youth.

In the song Vana Vaparara he says, “Vana vaparara nebhavava [bhavava is local slang for the smoke exhaled by users when they take their hits.]” That simple statement says it all. And it paints a gloomy picture of drug abuse in Zimbabwe. Dashocca mounts a spirited battle to tell the country that crystal meth abuse is now a pandemic – on top of COVID-19. He bemoans the inaction of the responsible authorities, saying this has led the youths to feel as if they are on top of the situation yet they are digging their own graves.

He mentions the adverse physical effects to a user – damaged lungs, psychosis, lack of sleep, hallucinations, loss of appetite, and weakened immune systems. He says that meth intake causes its users to commit silly, petty crimes which they will regret later. He does not mince his words – youths must stop crystal meth abuse. But that is a multi-faceted issue. Which needs pages and pages of national policies and rehabilitation programs.

He castigates meth users with a bastardized version of Jamaican Patois swear word – instead of “bomboclaat” he says “domboclaat,” since meth is called dombo in local slang. He however fights hard for his name Gukar Daddy to remain legit – the name has become a contradiction in itself (and in Dashocca’s consciousness). How can you continue calling yourself Gukar Daddy when the whole country is battling the meth pandemic? His strong words against meth use seem to be the only way such a contradiction can be resolved.

He tries to tell us, via his well-written lyrics, "Just because I call myself Gukar Daddy does not mean I sell meth. My heart is bleeding for those abusing it thinking they are now dope." He advocates for the users of meth to be arrested, but is that an effective tactic? History on America's infamous War on Drugs shows that arrests are a futile mechanism to curb drug abuse. So it is also up to the listener to think of ways to reduce the scourge of drug abuse in Zimbabwe.

We can never doubt Dashocca as to sound quality – as he is ably supported by Audioplug Entertainment Group. He conveys his much-needed message on a sound that any Helmet Dancehall lover cannot afford to ignore. It is such technical prowess possessed by Dashocca that we love.

In any case, one of these hardcore dancehall artists needed to publicly denounce crystal meth. It’s needed, and it helps. For those who care to deeply think on substance abuse in Zimbabwe.

You can watch the lyric video for Vana Vaparara by Dashocca via this YouTube Link.

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