Musicians must not be charity cases

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The late Oliver Mtukudzi

MANY musicians who survived on public gigs have been forced to resort to the begging bowl following prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns that banned live concerts to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Even as government relaxed lockdown restrictions, concerts have remained banned, delivering a major blow to artistes.

This forced the Music Associations and Arts Promoters in Zimbabwe to play “the good Samaritan” in this time of need, bailing out artistes with food hampers.

Inasmuch as it is commendable for the promoters association to assist artistes in times of need, COVID-19 should be a wake-up call for our artistes not to put all their eggs in one basket, but invest in other ventures so that they are not found wanting when seasons shift.

Our artistes are role models who should not be charity cases whenever they are not in season.

For how long will they remain charity cases?

The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down economic activity across all spheres and musicians cannot be a special group to be treated with kid gloves.

We urge them to think outside the box and find other ways of eking out a living instead of solely relying on music. They can use online platforms to market their music, if they can not invest in other businesses.

That way they will create a pillar to lean on during hard times such as these caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and even after retiring from music.

It is sad to see a once-popular artiste falling on hard times. They need to translate fame to fortune. History has been harsh to some artistes who failed to invest while they were on top of their game.

The list of artistes who died paupers despite living large at the peak of their careers is endless.

Many of these artistes produced sing-along songs, many of which became “national anthems” on radio and at entertainment joints, but had nothing to show for their effort at the end of their careers.

So we urge artistes to make hay while the sun shines.

They should take a cue from seasoned artistes like the late national hero and Katekwe musician Oliver Mtukudzi, sungura kingpins Nicholas Zakaria and Alick Macheso who have diversified into farming, Jah Prayzah and Wink D who have ventured into transport business, among others.

Celebrity status comes with many expectations from society, forcing artistes to live a borrowed flashy life. So, forewarned is forearmed.