BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
AFRO-JAZZ musician Selmor Mtukudzi at the weekend rattled the ruling Zanu PF party when she expressed her displeasure with government’s apparent lack of care for struggling artistes during the COVID-19-induced lockdown.
While other sectors have been opened, the showbiz sector has remained closed, throwing most artistes into abject poverty.
In a bid to stave off poverty, a number of local artistes have been flocking to South Africa for live performances.
Selmor took to Twitter to express concern over Zimbabwean authorities’ silence while artistes are languishing in poverty.
The post came after her live shows dubbed Remembering Tuku held on May 29 and 30 in Johannesburg, South Africa, in honour of her late father and national hero, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi who passed on in January 2019.
“This is the first time in the years I have been performing outside Zimbabwe that I have felt sad to be coming back home,” the heiress to the Tuku Music legacy said.
“Please Mr President ED Mnangagwa, don’t let us artistes be destitute in our own land. Let’s copy what South Africa is doing and allow us to work for our families.”
Selmor’s position, apparently shared by many artistes who have been blocked from doing live concerts since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March last year, rattled the ruling party, which felt it was disrespectful to Mnangagwa.
Zanu PF director for information and publicity Tafadzwa Mugwadi lashed out at Selmor saying artistes should learn to engage with authorities and express themselves respectfully rather than through social media platforms.
“We have taken note of concerns by music artistes who have registered their plea for a waiver in the arts sector to ensure they are cushioned in these COVID-19 measures. We will be engaging leaders about the issue for a waiver,” he said.
“However, we opine that our colleagues in the arts sector must learn to engage with authorities and express themselves respectfully rather than through insults. Football authorities set an example and signed themselves to strict conditions in light of this pandemic. Now they are on. Hazvidi kutukana kusina maturo. This is a new dispensation.”
Of late, artistes through different associations such as Music Associations and Arts Promoters in Zimbabwe have joined hands caling on government to reopen the showbiz sector.
They even met with Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation deputy minister Tinomudaishe Machakaire recently and deliberated on issues affecting them and the sector at large in the COVID-19 environment.
After the meeting, Machakaire gave assurances that he would forward their proposals to the relevant authorities, but is yet to give feedback.
- Follow Winstone on Twitter @widzoanto