IT IS rare for international artistes to take time off their tight schedules during tours to socialise with fans and strangers.
Issues of security and fatigue often result in visiting artistes being whisked to their hotel rooms as soon as they are done with their performances.
Although the issue of “after parties” is a common phenomenon among international visitors on the arts arena, such events are usually done on a formal rather than social note. Some artistes go to the after parties as part of their contracts and always ensure they get extra income by making guest appearances.
It is, therefore, a trend that fans have to pay to have “social” time with their icons at various selected joints where the parties would be held, but last weekend brought a new dimension to the trend.
South African musician Lira, who performed in the country last Friday, took time to meet her fans at a social event free of charge. After performing at 7 Arts Theatre in Avondale, Lira and her band went to meet their fans at an “unofficial” after party at Zim Cafe Hotel.
Lira’s performance at 7 Arts Theatre ended just after 10pm and she was at Zim Cafe Hotel around 11pm.
Unlike other after parties that are well-advertised and require fans to pay a certain fee to meet the celebrities, the Zim Café affair was different altogether.
An announcement was made at the venue that Lira would pass through and socialise with the merrymakers, but very few took it seriously. It was only after the songstress arrived that many socialites took time to greet her and have photographs taken with her.
Some implored her to sign autographs for them. When security cleared the pressing crowd, Lira and her band took their seats in the hotel’s dining room and were served their favourite menu selections.
They had their drinks and had time to dance to exciting music.
The seriousness with which Lira had delivered her performance at 7 Arts Theatre was all gone as she moved into a merrymaking mood.
For more than an hour, the South African diva had her merrymaking time and left observers convinced that behind that hardworking diva is a social and party-loving Lira who treats everyone around her the same.
However, a few irregularities could have dampened the musician’s night out.
Promoters of the Lira show at 7 Arts Theatre complained that the management at Zim Café Hotel did not consult them for the event.
“We are responsible for Lira’s safety in the country and we only got to know about this event when she was already here (at Zim Café),” one of the organisers said.
“If anything happens to her we would have been held accountable and I am sure the management at this venue should have notified us about their intentions. We have nothing against this gesture, but we are worried by the way everything was done behind our back.”
Osborne Chiukuseh of Zim Café admitted they had not contacted tour promoters saying they had just offered Lira a place for a night out at her request. Lira performed at 7 Arts Theatre alongside Alexio Kawara, Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana and Chiwoniso Maraire.
She returned to South Africa on Sunday.