The Herald (Harare)

5 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Freeman Imposter Faces Arrest

Freeman's Handina Godo music video. Shot in Harare, Zimbabwe. Produced by RockStar Media & Directed by Tinashe. ( Resource: Freeman - Handina Godo

Urban grooves artiste Fortune Mphinya aka Genius K, who went on stage masquerading as "Freeman, the Dancehall Doctor" in Centenary recently, faces arrest after the promoter unearthed the scam.

Genius K and his brother Norest Mphinya of Plus Five Records went into an agreement with Zakaria "Changamire" Five of Club Changaz in Centenary.

The performance deal implored Plus Five to bring a group of artistes to perform at the club on December 1.

The main attraction was Freeman and the posters were even printed under that name.

However, on the appointed day, Freeman did not show up, prompting Genius K to jump on stage masquerading as Freeman.

He had barely been on stage for 30 minutes when the crowd quickly noticed that they had been taken for a ride.

Genius K says he regrets his actions but claims he did it to save the face of the promoter, his manager as well as that of Freeman himself.

"Freeman failed to show up and the manager, Norest Mphinya, asked me to masquerade as Freeman.

"I did it because I knew the fans were going to cause a melee," he said.

He said although he was not as good as Freeman, he managed to pacify the crowd that was becoming restless.

"I did my best but the crowd easily saw that I was lip-syncing and booed me off the stage," he added. Genius K says during the "30 minutes of fame", he played seven songs by Freeman. His manager, Norest -- who is his young brother -- confirmed saying there was hardly anything else they could do to save the situation.

"We had problems with the Freeman camp because we paid the deposit late. So they advised us that they could not come and we thought of lip-syncing since we had always played with the group (Dangerzone).

"We knew very well we were out of line but the situation was unredeemable." However, Freeman, born Emegy Sylvester Chizanga, professed ignorance over the deal.

"These guys never approached us, we never even attempted to have any deal with them.

"On the said date I was launching my album at Club Barca and there is no way I could have been booked anywhere else.

"I am going to look into this matter and approach relevant authorities, including the National Arts Council, about this case. I will make a police report if necessary," said the musician.

Show promoter Changamire said he had already made a police report on the matter, saying he was duped of US$250 he paid as deposit.

He had been charged US$500 for the performance.

"Unfortunately, I have never met him (Freeman).

"So when this guy jumped on stage I thought it was him. It was only after people started complaining that I started to suspect something was up.

"He quickly left the stage and I thought Freeman had played for 20 minutes. When I confronted him, that was when he owned up and said he was not Freeman."

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