HomeNewsFemale artistes dare ‘gender-biased’ promoters

Female artistes dare ‘gender-biased’ promoters


TOP female musicians who have proved their mettle in the competitive and tough music arena, where only the fittest can survive, have decried promoters’ negative attitudes towards them despite the country’s several initiatives to empower women.


NewsDay established that most female musicians were unhappy with music promoters who they said either sidelined them completely when they organised shows, or gave them a raw deal compared to male artistes.

Selmor Mtukudzi performs at the school's Shona Cultural Day.
Selmor Mtukudzi performs at the school’s Shona Cultural Day.

Selmor Mtukudzi, who performs at many corporate functions, as well as chart toppers like gospel sensation Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave and multiple award-winning song bird Cynthia Mare, confirmed their interactions with promoters had not been rosy.

Selmor, in particular, said she was rattled by such stereotyping because music was not determined by gender.

“I think the so-called music promoters are ignorant that music and talent knows no gender. If the truth be told, we have no music promoters in the country, but businesspeople who suck the blood of artistes,” she said.

Gospel sensation Fungisai, a veteran of the music trenches in her own right, with over a decade-long experience during which she produced a catalogue of hit songs, said it was unfortunate that her experience appeared to count for nothing.

This is despite that her impeccable track record in the music industry was public knowledge.

“It is not about the promoters’ trust, it is about society’s perceptions. No matter how well women perform, they will still lag behind unless society changes its attitude towards them,” she said.

“For example, how many hits do I have? How many times have I wowed crowds and for how many years? However, when it comes to real events like entertainment at soccer matches and national events, the preference always shifts in favour of our male counterparts.”

She said she would not play second fiddle to male musicians because she was equally competitive.

Although the government has passed laws such as Sex Disqualification Act, which allows women to hold public office and the Labour Relations Act which criminalises discrimination based on gender in the workplace, female musicians said they were yet to enjoy the benefits.

Cynthia Mare
Cynthia Mare

Mare said she had observed that most show promoters were not comfortable working with female artistes and she found that puzzling.

“I’ve noticed that female musicians are not given equal opportunities as men, but I always thrive to do my best. That really puzzles me,” she said.

Jive Zimbabwe founder and music promoter Benjamin Nyandoro, however, said he had done a lot in promoting female artistes.

“My first artiste was a female, Jean Masters. I also have Tariro NeGitare and worked with Marcy Janure. On May 29, I am hosting Cynthia Mare at Book Café,” he said.

He, however, said the promotion of music was a business in which the promoter was concerned about the bottom line because there was need for a return on the investment.

“Promotion is less about the artiste being male or female, but more about return on investment,” he said.

“There is a difference between music promoters and show organisers. We have more show organisers than promoters in the country.”

Promoter Biggie Chinoperekwei concurred: “As show promoters we are in business. There is a concept of demand and supply. Some of the music is not in demand and artistes should change their music according to the demand side.”

In January 2007, Pamberi Trust launched the Sistaz Open Mic to showcase Zimbabwe’s raw female talent in music, poetry and dance.

In 2013, Cindy Munyavi and Claire Nyakudyara launched Kumabhebhi, a classy and decent event where professionals and socialites meet to party with female musicians.

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