Jah people, who do you say Toza Kapito is?
Ever since 2002, the former postman popped from nowhere with a flop tribute album Cry I under the nickname Evison Mourner. He has been repositioning himself as the continuation of fallen reggae icon Evison Matafale’s success story.
The self-styled singer has the right to immortalise his half brother, but branding himself Toza Matafale makes him look like many politicians, marketers and capitalists selling us a dummy in the mighty name of the dead.
Knowingly or unknowingly, Toza was at it again this week—telling our reporter that he prefers to be known as Matafale.
Change of name is not just a matter of choice. The law requires any Kapito wishing to be surnamed Matafale to be thoroughly scrutinised like one Jumani Kamuzu Banda of yesteryears by applying to the registrar’s office, advertising in a top-selling publication and waiting 21 days in case somebody has genuine reservation against the jazz.
Now, I wonder why Toza and other rookies seem to think inherited names are all they need to break through and flourish as artists.
With Star Marley and Moda Fumulani struggling to fit in the shoes of their star brothers, he could be another confirmation that art is not chieftaincy where the thickness of blood determines the succession line.
In his Chileka compatriot Moda, who has spent over five years singing no new song other than the bulk he inherited from the late Gift, Toza has a living warning to stop thinking a name alone will make him creative like Matafale.
Even Matafale’s band, the Black Missionaries, seem to be aware that they cannot live by his legendary name and style alone. During live shows, they sound relaxed doing what they do better—love songs and tributes.
By contrast, curtain-raiser Toza stumbles all over the lyrics in a gross imitation of Matafale that makes him look more rigid than a bridegroom sporting oversised, borrowed shoes.
To walk out of this self-exile, Toza must stop snoring in Matafale’s name, forge a unique style he is comfortable with and realise what he wants to see his name represent in the country’s music culture. The sooner, the better.