HARARE International Arts Festival (Hifa) associate executive director Tafadzwa Simba yesterday poured cold water on claims of underpaying local artistes contracted to perform during the weeklong arts and culture fete.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Simba told NewsDay Life & Style that they had not violated any contract for the 2017 or 2018 edition of the festival.
His sentiments came in the wake of claims by some local artistes that international acts harvested more than their local counterparts from participating in the arts and culture extravaganza.
On a WhatsApp screenshot that has gone viral on different social media platforms, an unidentified local performer at Hifa was paid $29,24 via Ecocash for performing in two gigs.
Although Simba confirmed the details on the screenshot were factual, he said some artistes were paid from ticket sales to maximise their income.
“This formula is agreed ahead of time (and in fact some artistes insist on it) as some artistes want more control over their performance. This particular dance show only sold nine tickets. According to the law, we also have to pay the relevant taxes to Zimbabwe Revenue Authority on that income too,” he said.
He also dismissed claims that they gave the international acts preferential treatment and said some local artistes were paid more than the foreigners.
“Further, some local artistes got even more — in general terms, some got more than the average Zimbabwean office worker would get in about two years using the same remuneration formula,” he said.
Simba said some of the foreign acts were paid in their respective countries before they came by their governments or arts promotion bodies.
Some followers of showbiz sector expressed mixed reactions over Hifa’s treatment of local artistes on different social media platforms.
Others encouraged artistes to engage lawyers to handle such contracts for them.
Arts promoter Benjamin Nyandoro said local artistes were vulnerable to the market.
“National Arts Council of Zimbabwe regulates promoters, and in such instances should enforce a minimum wage. Though we find desperate Artists still going for rates lower than gazetted ones, it doesn’t make it morally right especially on the part of the promoter. It is embarrassing to say the least,” he said.