‘Dodger’s Pen Was Impeccable and Unmatched’ – Beefy Harrison Reflects on Donald Dodger’s Life

By Takudzwa Kadzura 

There is a point in life where I seriously thought being an English teacher was my destiny. There also came a time where I believed a disc jockey had the coolest job in the world. And, today, I adore and venerate rappers the most. Perhaps, that’s how we grow up to become whoever we are.

Donald Dodger Marindire Shonaboy Kool kidz zw zim hip hop
Donald 'Dodger' Marindire

Today we have footballers, hairdressers, models and even street peddlers who, in their pre-school stages, dreamt of flying airplanes. I love the fact that I could see myself in different spaces – that much-coveted versatility – as demanded by an existential crisis we face as Zimbabwean youth.

Rather regrettably, that indecisiveness is at par with our self-cultivated passions which arise due to the different spaces of exposure which we are raised in. I never really tried to rap. I watched Aldrian ‘Beefy’ Harrison in an interview with RedNation Live [run by brothers Mob X and Mob G] and he revealed how his journey started – he tried rapping.

And as I read through Letters From My Deathbed by Donald ‘Dodger’ Marindire, there is a part where he describes himself as a failed rapper. Welcome to our corner, in this spacious arena of hip-hop, where everything we do is about the game but not rapping at all. Where all parts of the game – the relationship between rapping and media (the latter being indispensably necessary for pushing rappers) – genuinely exude revolutionary acts of love.

Hip-hop in Zimbabwe is largely a labour of love. It is on a sad note that such a discourse has climaxed with the demise of an exemplary hip hop connoisseur. Dodger, the brains behind the platforms Shona Boy Conglomerate and Kool Kidz Zw, was an embodiment of such artistic revolution.  

The Marindire family and the entirety of the Zimbabwean hip-hop realm have been brought down to tears following the untimely departure of a son, Donald Marindire of the moniker Dodger, who was renowned in entertainment circles as an enthusiastic and charismatic writer whose blogging was impactful for the industry. He simultaneously worked in the country’s police force – engendering his love for community.

His Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and blog posts are more than sufficient to produce a local hip-hop encyclopedia of various artists, their music and lives, laced in his cleverly-crafted and erudite commentaries. 

The zenith of his revolutionary passion for everything artsy was encapsulated by his maturation in becoming a respectable authority and opinion leader in a space where actors spit venom for a living and to massage egos. Donald worked with the leading hip-hop institution in the country (the Zim Hip Hop Awards) and within that space, his prominence in the game became a formidably notable pillar.

We had the honour to chat with the ZimHipHop Awards CEO Aldrian Beefy Harrison, and below are excerpts of the interview [slightly edited for clarity and brevity].

[Interview done by Takudzwa Kadzura for ZimSphere.]

ZimSphere: Firstly, we would like to extend our heartfelt condolences for the untimely passing of a loyal son to the game. What was your reaction to such heartbreaking news?

Beefy Harrison – Yeah man, I’m still finding it hard to come to terms with Dodger’s passing, it’s heartbreaking…devastating. He is someone I really worked close with, so it’s unbelievable waking up every day knowing he is not there. e is someone I communicated with on a daily basis for over a year and half now. It’s difficult.

ZimSphere: Donald Marindire who worked as a police officer and devoted his time to blogging, when and how did you guys meet?

Beefy Harrison – I first met Dodger a couple of years back. He sent a text, he had noticed the potential of ZimHipHop Awards and the pages, he wanted to contribute not only to the awards but the genre. He wanted to put his two cents. He asked for a meeting and offered his services. We only sat down once but that meeting took hours. We had a lot to talk about because it’s hip hop. From that day onwards like you know besides working together, we became very close comrades and he became a friend, little brother.

ZimSphere: Many would like to understand the relevance of his contributions to ZimHipHop, provide some light on how his work promoted the growth of the game.

Beefy Harrison – Dodger’s work really contributed towards the growth of the game. His writing skills were amazing, impeccable and his pen was unmatched. He was different from other bloggers. If you gave him a topic or picture of an artist he would then do more, go and research. He would not just post unverified information. Rest assured in a week if he’s put out about 10-20 artists he’d be read up and updated.

He was never off-key, always the first to get some news and that shows you how attached he was to the genre, I have never seen anyone like that. He even taught me how to blog. A lot of people learnt from him.

Sometimes I felt he was underappreciated. His style of writing rubbed on to a lot of people. Most bloggers never had that – that authentic hip hop lingo and Dodger put that in his articles. He really changed and contributed in a way that everyone is adapting to.

ZimSphere: Still on the relevance of media, how do you value this aspect in your tenure as CEO of ZimHipHop Awards, has the media worked in your favor?

Beefy Harrison – I will tell you something about media, whether it’s good or bad publicity. Media is crucial in the arts industry especially in music. Of late hip hop has gained a lot of relevance because of the media. It has played an important role in my time with the institution ZHHA. We are where we are because of the media.

Whether positive or negative reviews the brand has grown because of the media, for us to get corporate endorsements and work with other brands, they have heard of us through it. We hope to have more hip hop blogs and more platforms.

ZimSphere: And from your perspective and experiences with mainstream media and independent creative writers such as bloggers etc. Do you think independent publishers have done better in forwarding the culture?

Beefy Harrison – They are contributing but I feel they are not getting enough support. I have come across independent publishers that are talented beyond but lack adequate support. As a genre or business community I wish there were certain ways we can acknowledge or assist independent publishers you know, to get established because some people may take the contributions as minimal but these guys are playing an important role in making sure the public is updated on a daily basis. The participation of media is very crucial. I wish there were policies to support them.

ZimSphere: From a Facebook post on your page. You revealed how you guys had debates about the culture. Share your most memorable experiences with Donald and what he was particularly fond of when it comes to hip hop in Zimbabwe. What did he like to see change, some advices for you and arguments?

Beefy Harrison – Man, Dodger was fond of the culture like if I was to tell you what we debated about I can actually write a book. From the top of my head one of the most memorable things we used to discuss – I’m usually a person that’s highly criticized because of the awards even though it is not a personal decision but because I head the branch. Dodger used to come into the office to let me know. He taught me to have a thick skin, take the negative and turn it into positive. Dodger would explain to me the ordeals of an artist, the pain of not getting recognition and he was like their vessel. He made me understand working without support. He would make it relate to me. How these youngsters from the ghetto are feeling because he talked to them on a daily basis. We would debate on favorite artists. If he came in at 11am my day would be f**ked. I’m not gonna work because our conversations would stretch 3-4 hours of in-depth hip hop.  The biggest memory of him is his efforts in trying to connect the genre as a whole.

ZimSphere: We're at great loss as a fraternity since Calvin and Dodger are no longer with us. We understand that the two have been closely linked to the ZHHA, how is the institution planning to honor and preserve these legacies?

Beefy Harrison – Yeah man the ZHHA are highly linked with these two. Speaking on a personal level I was close to Dodger. The institution will definitely honor Dodger.

We are still to have an executive board meeting on how this is gonna happen, details will be revealed soon.

Last year we had an epic celebration of Calvin at the awards and it wasn’t the end. These legacies have to live on. Some of the plans I cannot reveal now.

It is our responsibility to preserve these legacies. A lot of work is in the pipeline. A lot of entertaining stuff that’s gonna live on and be taught to upcoming generation on who these people are.

ZimSphere: Dodger imparted great inspiration on aspiring content creators. It remains difficult to fill his shoes, how would you encourage the young ones who have also taken this journey in documenting Zimbabwean hip hop. And which areas do you think are critical for coverage in order to grow the industry?

Beefy Harrison – It is definitely gonna be difficult to fill his shoes I won’t lie. But to young creative writers in hip hop the advice I wanna give them is, formalize your art and keep putting out content as much as you can.

Do a lot of research and be creative on how you present. You know you could tell this is a Dodger article even without him putting his name on it. Have your own way of presenting art. Make it sustainable. Find out how you can start your own media organization.

Personally, I have always been advocating to help artists. I have been advising a number of organizations and artists especially in hip hop. So you know, there are people like us to advise you.

ZimSphere: As we conclude, to the family and friends who by chance are going to come across this publication, any words of comfort?

Beefy Harrison – Man, uhm. Dodger was an amazing soul. He was passionate about hip hop. There was never a dull moment with him. He was one of the few people who kept comforting me. Every time we had a conversation I’d tell him, “man I haven’t made money from hip hop in 10 years”. He would randomly text – hey big man I see what you doing, I see what you doing.

He was one person who knew every of my move because I’m actively involved in the hip hop, many people think it’s just awards. I used to derive strength from him, his encouragements are still vivid and even when we had fallouts we still talked like “ey man no love lost we arguing over something we love, keep doing what you doing” his level of passion needs to spread to every hip hop head.

We need to adopt Dodger’s passion.

The only way he could be remembered is if we spread the love he showed unto us and others. Let’s be a vessel of his work. He was an amazing soul. These past [months] have been difficult, sometimes I wake up thinking, “I’m gonna get a message from him”.

It is hard. On an ending note I’d like to express my condolences to the fraternity and his family. Let us spread the love!


A name like Dodger lives forever! We leave you with the soulful raps of Jnr Brown; “real niggas don’t die they relocate and get chubby,” as we celebrate the iconoclastic, yet iconic life of Dodger. Disjointed thoughts of an eccentric genius, Dodger would say. 

Dodger ZW zim hip hop
Rockers, Dodger, and ZimSphere's Takudzwa Hillary Chiwanza at the 2018 Zim Blog Awards.

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