By Trevor Makonyonga
In 2010, Red Rat’s Rise up Zimbabwe became a local hit and the man behind that song, Abra Simmz, would go on to have an illustrious career in the arts. It would be a surprise to many that this same DJ/Producer has been living a double life as he has turned to sport.
Most people in the entertainment world always find it difficult to draw the line between art and sport; this could be a typical example. The only weird fact is that Simzz did not turn to the popular ball games but instead leaned towards golf.
Bustop TV spoke to Simukai “Abra Simzz” Mandizvidza on his love for golf and he explained how he started.
“I started playing golf at about 9 years old. I used to go with my dad on golf trips and occasionally on weekends with his golf group. That’s when I first started with the game but what hooked me was an experience when we migrated to California where a fellow church member who later became my coach took me to the Los Angeles Open practice day. On the day I saw some of the golf greats on the driving range. I saw the likes of John Daly, Fred Couples, Ben Crenshaw and many more. I thought my day was made until my jaw dropped and I saw my idol walk onto the range who is Zimbabwe’s greatest player of all-time Nick Price. I followed his every move and followed him and his caddy to a private range. To cut a long story short his caddy introduced himself and then introduced me to Mr. Price who at the time was still one of the top players in the world. He was one of the nicest people I had ever met. He then invited me to walk the back 9 of Riveria country club as he practiced. It was a day I would never forget.”
Simzz said he started taking the game seriously at about 14 years of age when he was noticed by a fellow church member practicing my swing after church. The church member, Greg Castlemen is one of the top youth golf teachers in California USA who then started to coach the teenage Simzz.
“After being coached by Mr Castlemen I played high school golf and college golf for Riverside community college in California. I played in many tournaments when I was younger but stopped at the college level,” said Abra Simzz.
After many years of toiling in the streets of music, the dancehall producer seems to have revived his lost love for golf as he has set up an academy.
He added, “I started an academy called Golf is life motivated by a golf great Bobby Jones who stated that out of all sports golf is the most like life. Which I found to be true. The academy focuses on youth and beginner golfers and mainly targets minorities and gets them into the game. There is this silly stigma that golf is for the rich, but golf is simply a game the resembles life. One can have ups and downs, but one must keep moving and can’t simply give up. When the pandemic hit, I realized that I need to pursue this passion and I have not regretted that decision. I want to give young people same opportunities I received when I was young. I play golf during the day and mc at night.”
Abra Simzz is also a former radio DJ at ZiFM and is currently based in South Africa where is a club MC/DJ/music producer.