BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
AFRO-JAZZ songstress Selmor Mtukudzi has joined the long list of artistes who have been forced to shelve several forthcoming shows after President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week banned gatherings of over 100 people to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Although the virulent flu has devastated China — where it originated in Wuhan province — and Italy in particular, Zimbabwe has so far officially confirmed just two cases.
Selmor’s publicist Reginald Chapfunga told NewsDay Life & Style at the weekend that they were forced to shelve all lined-up shows.
Chapfunga said Selmor had been billed to perform with sungura ace Alick Macheso and they were also set to perform at four other different functions.
“Artistes rely on shows because it’s their business and we are set to lose income because we had to cancel four shows and four corporate functions. Selmor was expected to perform alongside Alick Macheso in Kadoma at Odyssey, Jongwe corner, Kariba and Chinhoyi, so it’s a huge loss,” he said.
“The other thing is we don’t have a strong legislation to curb corruption because we also rely on CD sales.”
Macheso’s management last week also officially announced the cancellation of all their forthcoming shows until further notice.
Chapfunga said they have now resorted to online streaming platforms where only diasporians are responding, adding that there is need to encourage local fans to embrace the initiative.
“I think it’s high time we embraced technologies such as online streaming platforms and as Team Selmor we have already started the initiative, but sadly only the diasporans are supporting the initiative and the local market has not yet appreciated it. They still need CDs and some save our songs on memory sticks,” he said.
“We have various platforms like Spotify and YouTube and these are some of the sites that reward artistes for their works, so we want to also utilise those. Those responsible for royalties should do so in time because they normally don’t come on time and given the (ever) changing rates, it will be a disadvantage to the artiste.”
The high cost of data in the country, however, could most likely discourage many fans to use the social media platforms.
However, Chapfunga said that the artiste runs other personal ventures which he said will be availed soon which are meant to sustain the band.
“She also has other personal projects which will be availed soon and she also runs a trust called Vamvana which empowers the girl child. It’s self-funded and also gets some funds from her friends around the world,” he said.