IT has become the norm in Zimbabwe that when an artiste dies, the family is left on the ropes, often struggling to raise money to finance the funeral as most players in the arts industry have little savings and no insurance.
BY KENNEDY NYAVAYA
When the Kurwizi hitmaker Jamal Mataure passed away after a long illness in 2013, his death was described as a “wake-up call” for musicians who were urged to prepare for any eventuality through securing insurance and life cover for themselves, their families and assets.
Urban grooves music producer Joe Machingura said artistes often died paupers without money to pay for their funerals.
“The government should intervene and revive the arts industry,” he said. “They need to transform it into a viable entity where artistes can make a decent living and afford a decent burial when they die.”
The call, however, continues to fall on deaf ears after only 20 artistes turned up for an insurance workshop organised by jazz songstress Dudu Manhenga on Tuesday under a forum called Life Saves.
Manhenga partnered with insurance giants Old Mutual, Ecosure and Nyaradzo Funeral Services who dispensed knowledge on the subject of insurance, which most artistes have ignored to their own detriment and that of their families in the past.
Speaking to NewsDay after the event, Manhenga said although artistes were a unique group that could often afford the finer things of life, they ignored the need for insurance to cover their backs in the event of a tragedy.
“Being part of the (arts) sector, I have noticed some discrepancies surrounding artistes and their lifestyles,” she said.
“They are like assets which depreciate with time no matter the initial value hence they should prepare for future circumstances.”
She said artistes should desist from a mentality of living luxury lives at the peak of their careers when their lives after years of fame hang in the balance of uncertainty.
“Our money as artistes does not come at one go, so it is important to plan for our lives after the stage,” she said.
Although the attendance at the inaugural workshop was poor, Manhenga expressed optimism that the programme which is set to run monthly, would gain momentum and attract more artistes as they intended to bring members of the banking sector to their next meeting.
Upcoming jazz singer Eve Kawadza echoed Manhenga’s sentiments and urged fellow artistes to take advantage of the time when they are still making
great benefits through their talents.
“We really need to be disciplined and make the most of the times when we are still earning high through our talents,” she said.
“It is good that institutions are actually coming to us, but today’s attendance is disappointing and we can attribute it to ignorance that in the end affects us when we are faced with hardships. For example, it has become the norm that when one of us dies we have to hold a concert to help them which is really sad.”
Artistes have in the past suffered sad ends to their careers owing to mismanagement of funds and often times their cash-strapped family members are left with no choice, but to extend the begging bowl to the public when they eventually die.