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Tafadzwa Zimoyo

Lifestyle Editor

It’s Jan Paul not Sean Paul, don’t mistake the two, although they rhyme.

Neither JP as in Jah Prayzah as most are quick to recall, but there is a man hailing from Mutare, but now based in London, Jan Paul Weaper (JP) who is the plug when it comes to business.

Especially in showbiz, he can either be your go-between, negotiator or master of ceremony depending on how you want to work with him.

Jan Paul defines professionalism, quality and classy production, whatever the case might be.

Besides being of mixed race, Jan Paul relates very well with any race and is quick to fit in picture.

Jan Paul has worked with the late Queen Elizabeth, Princess Anne, Prince Harry, Jay Z and Beyonce (On The Run II Tour), Simon Cowell, Heston Blumenthal, Akon, Sean Paul, Twista, Callum Best, Betty Bachs, Giggs C-Biz, Sneekbo, Eve (First Lady of Ruff Ryders), Alesha Dixon, Fleur East, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Ginuwine.

Yes, this is a powerful list comprising British and Hollywood celebrities.

From the region, the classic one is the late Brenda Fassie, and Jan Paul still recalls the memories they shared, apart from Diamond Platinumz, Makhadzi, Mafikizolo, and Diamond Boyz, among others who have praised the living legend.

Then on our local plate, his dish includes Jah Prayzah, The late Dr Oliver Mtukudzi, Gemma Griffiths, Nutty O, Freeman HKD, Sulumani Chimbetu, Andy Brown, Ammara Brown and Conrad Mwanza.

As soon as you land in the Queens’ land, whether you are attending a show or partaking, if it doesn’t have Jan Paul, then consider it a likely disaster, as with his Midas touch makes things easy.

It is true that for every deal to be a success, even a lobola ceremony, an entertainment show, or sometimes proposing to a woman, if you don’t have the guts, there should be a negotiator or a go-between. 

The Herald on Saturday Lifestyle caught up with Jan Paul, who was not shy to share his story, what makes him unique and being the most sought-after plug and go between during events hosting.

Business personalities, fashionistas, and bloggers such as Mwanza, Gloraine Francis, Leah Mubwandarika – African Designer, and Brena Mupa have described him as the best.

“If you are in his hands, you are safe, he does things by the book and is the plug,” they all said.

But who is Jan Paul and how did he end up being in the United Kingdom?

 “I was born and raised in Mutare,” he narrated. “My dad spent a full 22 years in military service in the Zimbabwe National Army and did mine and bomb disarmament based at Grand Reef, 35 engineers,” he said. 

“My mum does law work bonds and conveyancing. I went to Chancellor Primary School and attended Mutare Boys’ High School. I have two daughters Ruby (15) and Jada (14). I can say that my claim to fame was growing up with the late Comrade Edgar Tekere who was my mentor. My neighbour was the legendary saxophonist from Bulawayo, Fanyana Dube, and on the other side there was Ethan Mathibela. 

“I learned about music while growing up watching Sam Mataure, Fanyana Dube, Busi Ncube, Chiwoniso Maraire, Ilanga and many other acts performing at Freitas owned by Mutare businessman Farai Mwayera.”

Jan Paul said he did not even remember how he started being the plug at events.

“I grew up around these musicians seeing them grow from strength to strength and setting up and organizing venues,” he said. “I have been living in London for 24 years and now as the plug, I find the job very challenging and rewarding because no artiste is the same. 

“Also you have to become attached to whoever you work with. These are people at the end of the day, I like to find out what makes them tick, their vision in terms of career projection, and also most importantly their lifestyle. This is a 24/7 job and requires lots of work patience and prayer and constant versatility is required to evolve.” 

Jan Paul said his secret to success was researching.

“You have to always be there for your artists during all highs and lows,” he said. “You have to have good people skills and the instinct and intuition to understand and navigate anything and everything around you. 

“Spending lots and lots of time researching and socializing with your client or brand helps and is a prerequisite for this job.”

So how did he work with the late Queen Elizabeth and other A-listers?

“The late Queen Elizabeth came to London Fashion Week, I managed to speak to her and her team,” he said. “I arranged her sitting arrangement. I even met her with her daughter Princess Anne at another function. 

“Jay and Beyonce, I worked with them on their tour at Queen Elizabeth Stadium, Stratford, arranging their VIP seating and logistics, I was very lucky.

“They want me to clean their places on this event not sweeping, but running the show for them. It’s the same with Ginuwine, he was with the Big Brother House and it was a party and they contacted me to help them. Every time businesses and brands call me, first I give them my publicist services fashion week. 

“I have met Jimmy Choo, Prince Harry, Simon Cowell, Heston Blumenthal, Akon, Sean Paul Twista, Callum Best, Betty Bachs, Giggs C-Biz, Sneekbo, Eve of Ruff Ryders) Alesha Dixon, Fleur East, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Ginuwine, Jah Prayzah, Diamond Platinumz, the late Dr Oliver Mtukudzi, Gemma Griffiths, Nutty O, Freeman HKD, Makhadzi, Mafikizolo, Diamond Boyz, the late Andy Brown, Ammara Brown and Brenda Fassie. So, what happens is that management companies get hold of me and ask me to come, check the venue, hospitality, image, and brand remains consistent and treat them the same, everything is clinical. I manage their personalities and make sure no excuses and programme, that is me.” 


Jan Paul with Jimmy Choo

He said sometimes he is given the job at short notice, but he has to make it work.

Jan Paul said when it comes to local arts sector, there was need for updating and modernisation.

“We have really good and talented artistes, but we need to educate and support them to make sure they get recognised and appreciated,” he said. “They also need to be treated with the same respect and support. 

“In the UK, there is lots of funding understanding and appreciation of the arts, but people do not downplay the value of artistes in whichever sphere or capacity.”

Asked on his biggest achievement so far, Jan Paul said it was his identity as a Zimbabwean. 

“My biggest achievement is being a parent and representing my city of Mutare, people, and culture, and being a proud Zimbabwean,” he said. “I won Male Personality 2019 at the Zim Achievers UK. I was Nominated for the Most Influential Person Mutare Creative Awards last year.” 

Jan Paul said he is always ‘mama’s boy’ no matter how big and powerful he is.

 “My mum is my role model because she has always told me a good name is better than any treasure the world has to offer,” he said. “She taught us to work hard and honestly and always to understand and treat people well. She encouraged my sister, Pauline, and me to grow up in church and also to be humble. 

“I love her because she is humble, honest, and helpful. It is because of her, that I can remain grounded and humble and to thank God for everything he continually does for us.” 

Astoundingly, Jan Paul said his mother was not impressed by celebrity life or material things. 

“My dad, Paul too is an inspiration to me having served in the army and instilled a sense of service and consistency,” he said. “I grew up in Zimbabwe and learnt from very influential and respected people. 

“Being coloured makes me be able to appreciate culture, my roots, and how fractured my community is, so I try and bridge the gap with art, music, and culture to bring us all together.” 

Jan Paul further explained that his main jobs were to grow, maintain, and encourage growth and productivity with every client, business or project.

“I have also been involved to an extent being asked for advice on dressing artistes, Government officials, and celebrities as and when I am needed,” he said.

“Apart from meeting my President Mnangagwa, I would have loved to meet Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, DMX, or Gregory Isaacs. Unfortunately, the others have passed on, except President Mnangagwa. Chris Brown is also my die-to-meet star for now.

“My race has been an issue because living in a cosmopolitan city like London makes it difficult to be easily identified, ethnicity-wise. Sometimes some members of my community refuse to help or don’t like me. They don’t like that I am fluent in Shona, especially “Manyika.

“It remains a mystery to me because I see all Zimbabweans as one. I have several companies for which I I am a silent partner. My main interest and occupation remain as an independent publicist under my Brand (Jan-Paul Weaper PR) JPWPR.” 

Now, with everything on his shoulder, how does Jan Paul balance work and fatherhood, as it seems he is a busy man?

“I balance my personal life by not taking on too much work, so it doesn’t encroach on my responsibility as a dad, this is more important than anything. My work is my passion, so it helps to do what I love,” he said. 

“It’s a calling, not a job.”

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