By Esther Gomo (Showbiz Correspondent)
Talented but troubled urban grooves singer Rockford ‘Roki’ Josphat has dismissed claims that his tour in South Africa was a major disaster and instead blasted an SA based rookie music promoter for trying to tarnish his image.
A few days ago Nehanda Radio reported how the show allegedly flopped as less than a hundred people paid to watch the former Big Brother Stargame contestant sing. Those who paid were left agitated after the musician only played for about 45 minutes before leaving the stage at Marafco Nite Club.
It was also reported how angry fans threw stones at the venue in central Pretoria as the show was aborted. Many people had to scurry for cover while the promoters had to hide in cars with angry fans baying for their blood demanding to be paid back their money.
But speaking through his manageress Bybit Areketa, Roki accused the show promoter Lainos Tachi of failing to honour his contract. According to reports Roki ended up taking Lainos’ passport as surety for outstanding monies. Bybit also denied claims that Roki was briefly arrested at the airport.
“The information that was peddled by the promoter about the show is not true. The reason why these guys fabricated the whole story is because Roki took Lainos’ passport because he had failed to pay us as we had initially agreed.
“And when Roki had taken his passport, Lainos tried all he could to provoke us into an ugly scene that would have ended up at a police station. He failed and decided on a story that tarnishes Roki’s image.
“Lainos had spent virtually the whole of Saturday looking for his friend, alleging that the friend had taken with him gate takings from the show. It turned out that this friend did not have anything to do with the problem but was just a scapegoat for Lainos,” she said.
Areketa said “The show did not flop. The venue was fully packed and Roki performed very well and I still recall Lainos (promoter) coming to me telling me that he was happy with Roki’s performance.
“People were entering the venue from 8pm and Lainos told us that all those that were at the venue early were getting in for free because the venue owner did not want to inconvenience his regular patrons.
“He (Lainos) claimed that people would only start paying around 10pm. But as for the rowdy behaviour of the crowd who had come to watch the show, Roki had no control over that, in fact there were three police vehicles parked outside the venue,” said Bybit.
“Everything was poorly organised, when we arrived with the band, we had no accommodation organised for us by the promoters. Before we left for South Africa the show promoters had promised us that they would get accommodation for us and they would also hire a motorcade of Range Rovers for Roki and his band but nothing like that ever happened.
“We went to the show without bathing. We only freshened up at a friend’s house. When the show was over Roki was taken to Jo’burg where they had booked for him but as for the band members, they remained stuck for more than three hours at the venue until we went and booked a lodge for ourselves,” she said.
Bybit said “I was shocked when I heard allegations that Roki spent time with one of the girls in his band. The female dancer that is being talked about in the story was with the rest of the team and we only met with Roki when the show was about to start.
“Right now the lady is now facing problems with her boyfriend because of those lies and for sometime now Roki has been working very hard on building his image and it is really bad for someone to just fabricate such issues.
“They have also said that Roki was arrested last Friday at OR Tambo airport but that is a lie, Roki was already in South Africa because we took him to the Harare International Airport on Thursday and he arrived in South Africa two hours later and there is proof of that,” she said.
Responding to claims that they did not travel with their instruments Bybit said they went with their own instruments to South Africa except for the drum set because they knew the drums would cause problems for them at the border.
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