Tearful Gonyeti narrates
alleged s@xual abuse by
Jah Prayzah

It was an emotional interview as dancer and
vocalist Pamela “Gonyeti” Zulu intermittently
broke down on Wednesday when she narrated the
story of her alleged sexual abuse by former
employer Jah Prayzah.
Pamela “Gonyeti” Zulu
She began with a disclaimer. “I did not want
this information to go public. I just got angry
in a meeting last week and spilled the beans in
front of other people. We were only five in the
meeting and tempers flared until I reminded him
about his sex escapades in anger.
“It is embarrassing to share a story of sexual
abuse with the world and I thought the issue
would end in the meeting. I was surprised to see
a story about it in a newspaper and I feel so
bad, but I don’t have anything to hide
anymore,” she said.
Gonyeti was referring to a story published by
our sister paper H-Metro on Tuesday in which
Jah Prayzah’s lawyer Eddie Hamunakwadi was
quoted as saying she was seeking compensation
for sexual abuse in addition to claiming
outstanding unpaid fees for her services in the
band.
The gorgeous vocalist denies asking for
compensation for sexual abuse and said she is
heartbroken because the issue has gone public.
She said all she wanted was to get her
outstanding allowances for the work she did for
the band.
She admitted having been abused sexually
without protection by Jah Prayzah on numerous
occasions for the past three years to safeguard
her job, but insisted she had no plans to make
the sensitive issue public.
“Many women do not disclose issues related to
sexual abuse because they are afraid of
stigmatisation. I was one of them. What will
people say when they know Jah Prayzah had
sexually abused me without protection? I had to
live with it. I had to please my paymaster.
“Now they have told the world about it and the
most painful thing is that Jah Prayzah is saying
I am lying. Why would I lie that I slept with
him? Why would I lie to embarrass myself . . . ”
for a moment she could not continue as she wept
uncontrollably.
Gonyeti said the sexual abuse was the main
reason why she left Jah Prayzah’s Third
Generation band.
“I asked myself why I was hanging on when I
was being abused in many ways. I was a sex
slave and I was also not getting paid for my
services in the band. I just had to keep pleasing
my master with my body, my voice and my energy
for nothing. I just said ‘enough is enough’ and
I quit the band. Honestly, the issue of sexual
abuse was personal. Now they have told the
world about it and everyone will see me as a
dirty person.”
The energetic dancer said during tours, other
band members would share hotel rooms and Jah
Prayzah, as the boss, was always booked alone
and he abused that scenario to have quality time
with his subordinate before and after shows.
“I always shared the room with Stimela (Fatima
Katiji, the other female vocalist) and I would be
called to the boss’ room and leave her alone. We
also met at various places in Harare during the
week when we were off duty. That was the life I
led at Third Generation. It was risky because I
knew many other girls that Jah Prayzah was
involved with.
“He has many girlfriends among his fans and we
knew most of them. When such a person
continuously demands unprotected sex, it
becomes dangerous. He says he does not fear
contracting any sexually-transmitted infections
because he is circumcised.”
Gonyeti said she is now being terrorised by some
of Jah Prayzah’s female fans on social media.
“I left the fans’ WhatsApp group and they
continue adding my number and using abusive
language towards me. Some of the ladies say
there is nothing special about being sexually
abused because they have also slept with Jah
Prayzah.”
As her voice cracked and tears rolled down her
cheeks, Gonyeti said she regrets being involved
with Third Generation because the memories will
haunt her forever, especially because the issue
is now public.
She said when she first saw Jah Prayzah as an
unknown artiste and assisted him to record his
first albums, she did not know the relationship
would grow into a sad tale.
“I first met him at Jazz 105 when he was a
supporting artiste to our band Jabavu Drive. I
was the lead singer at Jabavu Drive and he liked
my voice. He asked me to do backing vocals for
him in the studio and I did most of his early
songs including the album ‘Ngwarira Kuparara’
before I even joined his band.
“My first album as a full-time band member was
‘Tsviriyo’. The relationship began professionally,
but he took advantage of his growing fame to
abuse me.”
She said she is taking a legal route to recover
her salary arrears and would not want her
attention to be distracted from the real cause
of her confrontation with her former employer.
Efforts to get a comment from Jah Prayzah were
unsuccessful as he is currently in South Africa
shooting a video for the track “Mdhara
Vachauya”.
However, Gonyeti who now fronts her own band
called Horse Power said she will soldier on
despite the emotional spell and focus on her solo
career.
“This is a trying time, but I have to look ahead.
I have a career to maintain and I will not make
it if this issue affects me emotionally to a level
where I cannot concentrate on my own projects.
“We are moving on and I am glad with the
assistance I am getting from my manager Filda
Muchabaiwa. We hope things will work well. We
cannot continue dwelling on the past yet we
want to move forward.”
Muchabaiwa — popularly known as Mama Filo —
was Jah Prayzah’s manager when he was still
chasing fame and she said she is disappointed by
his approach to the Gonyeti issue.
. . . who is Pamela Zulu?
Pamela “Gonyeti” Zulu was born in 1986 in
Victoria Falls in a family of three girls and one
boy. She attended Chinotimba Primary and Mosi
oa Tunya Secondary schools, but dropped from
her studies in Form Two when she fell pregnant.
Both her parents died when she was still young.
Gonyeti aka Pamela Zulu
She had interest in music at school and a
neighbour discovered her vocal prowess and
invited her to join Mulura Jazz Band that was
based in the resort town.
Pamela worked with the band for three years
before relocating to Harare where she joined
Summer Breeze as lead vocalist.
Another jazz band Jabavu Drive enlisted her
services and she would alternate between the
two bands.
She met Jah Prayzah at Jazz 105 when he was
curtain-raising for Jabavu Drive and he admired
her voice and took her as a backing vocalist for
her songs in the studio.
In 2013 there was a vacancy for a female
backing vocalist in Jah Prayzah’s Third
Generation Band and she joined the group. She
got the nickname Gonyeti because of her huge
body and energy on stage.
She learnt her trademark energetic dances at
Jah Prayzah’s band since she was coming from a
jazz background.
Pamela toured many parts of the country with
Third Generation and also went for international
tours to countries like United Kingdom,
Australia, Botswana and South Africa. She left
Jah Prayzah’s group in August this year citing
unfavourable working conditions and abuse to
form her own band called Horse Power.
The band has so far performed at various venues
in Harare and she is working on her album that
will be released soon.
Pamela is a single mother of two children aged
15 and 5 years.