WHEN he released his album which catapulted him to stardom titled Mdhara Vachauya, Zimbabwean music giant Mukudzeyi Mukombe also known as Jah Prayzah was applauded for gaining maturity and composing songs with “great” meaning such as Goto which featured on his 2016 album.
This is the same song that gets Jah Prayzah possessed on stage every time he performs it, that has deep connotations, that also connects him with his ancestors.
Six years after the release of the song, Jah Prayzah has explained the metaphoric meaning of Goto.
“In life, there can be two things that can have one meaning and, in this instance, Goto has two meanings in connection with the song. The first explanation is: there is a male goat which we call gotokoto or gotora, but the short cut is goto.
“When the male goat reaches its peak of growth, it starts releasing hwema (a terrible smell). That particular smell can be compared with a bad spirit. We can all agree that you can sense smell through your nose and you can’t see the smell with your eyes.
“Same as in life, you can live but you won’t be able to see the bad spells and spirits that are targeted at you for your life to be miserable.
“That is also why on the song I sing Charika which suggest that it’s possible for one to be prayed for and be diverted and protected from the bad spirit, because once you are not protected from that life forces either by God or your ancestors, your life can be doomed,” explained Jah Prayzah.
He also associated the meaning of the song with the bad smell that comes from a decaying animal.
He said in ancient societies in Africa, peasants used to hunt animals by trapping them inside a pit.
If the animal trapped was not part of that community’s diet, the animal was left inside the pit, died on its own, rotted and then released a bad smell which he related to the evil spirits.
“On the second meaning of the song: when it’s the rainy season, the rains hit the ground and start to develop a trench. Next year, the rain again increases that trench. Before that trench grows and fully develops into a river, it will be called a Goto (small stream).
“In old days, our forefathers used Goto as a way of hunting and catching animals. They cut grass that managed to cover the pit (Goto), they then diverted animals to the direction of the pit, and the prey fell into the Goto.
“Some animals that fell inside that pit were not part of the diet system, so that kind of animal was left to die, decay and then they produce a bad smell which is also related to bad spirits.
“Like I said before, the teachings on the song are “Charika Goto Rine Hwema, Ukazokarika Wawira” (Be careful before you fall into the pit that has a bad smell).
“You must not be trapped in a place that is associated with bad spirits because when that happens your life will be compromised and condemned,” said Jah Prayzah.
He said he will continue to do a series of explaining the inspiration and meanings behind the composition of his music so that his fans can get a full understanding of how he crafts his work.