The lyrics to DJ Stavo’s song, The Journey sound chilling when one takes into account the name and the reputation of the man who sang them.
A couple of months after its release, the song is riding high on the charts, elbowing out stiff competition from the likes of Prince Kaybee’s smash hit Charlotte to find itself at number two on the MTV Base South African house charts.
“. . . I had to go far away from home
It was just me and the microphone
I knew I didn’t wanna be alone
I didn’t tell nobody where I was going
I had to find myself a brand new home.”
The man behind the lyrics is none other than Rockford Josphat, referred to by some as the bad boy of Zimbabwean music.
If they were sang by any other musician the lyrics would seem like the usual musings of another musician who believes that they had to leave the baggage of their former life to become the star they were always destined to be.
Coming from the lips of Roki however, the lyrics begin to take an altogether different shape and meaning.
This is a man who is alleged to be a fugitive from justice, after ghosting away from the country last year when another cloud of controversy had begun circling over his dreadlocks.
Roki has reportedly found the new home that he has been searching for in Cape Town, South Africa, as he pins his hopes on distance exorcising the demons that have plagued the better part of his stay in Harare.
Back home, a docket with the reference number CR879-8-16 awaits him at the Borrowdale Police Station. The star is wanted for assault and theft of property charges, after a savage attack on his then girlfriend Nyasha Valerie.
Whether she’s the woman that Roki recounts ghosting away from in the song, only the dreadlocked singer knows. What is certain however, is that he is now out of sight and out of mind for her.
“I have moved on and I am sure he (Roki) will succeed in his endeavours,” she said when quizzed about the star’s whereabouts.
Since that violent incident, Roki has been largely written off, as Zimbabwean’s patience runs thin with a man who might have already exhausted his nine lives at the age of 32.
The success of The Journey south of the Limpopo however, suggests that the obituaries for the man who was so instrumental to the birth of urban grooves may have been premature.
Over an infectious beat whose bounce is complemented by the sort of guitar work made famous by Prince Kaybee, Roki effortlessly makes the leap from urban grooves to house music.
His vocals on the track are exemplary, proving that he has hardly lost the touch that gave rise to such hits as Chidzoka. At his best, there are few in the country who can match Roki as a performer and on The Journey he proves it, turning in a performance that might leave some of South Africa’s honey voiced songbirds green with envy.
His voice runs parallel to the dominant guitar, as both man and instrument take turns to shine on a beat that would otherwise be unremarkable without either of their input.