By Bongani Ndlovu
Comedian Carl Joshua Ncube has alleged that there is an eight-member “mafia” which is killing Bulawayo art by oppressing artistes from the city.
Ncube sensationally made the claims on social media saying the gang also does not want artistes from other towns to come to Bulawayo for shows.
He said this during a Facebook Live discussion initiated by Iyasa director Nkululeko Dube to find out what is wrong with arts in Bulawayo and why the city’s artistes are not successful.
Ncube responded by saying this was because of the clique, which he did not name, but threatened to do so if they continued to oppress artistes in the city.
“There are eight people who I know personally who make every event that is not from Bulawayo a bad thing. Those people need to be stopped and if they are removed from Bulawayo, so be it. There’s a lot of hard work being done by artistes in Bulawayo, but their mediocrity as artistes in their personal capacities has stifled these people’s careers and this has to stop,” said Ncube.
“I won’t keep quiet about it because we keep saying that there’s a problem, but we keep skirting around the issue. We know them. If this situation continues, we’re going to be like Mnangagwa and name and shame them.”
Ncube, who was born in Bulawayo, said these people were making it difficult for artistes, including himself, to feel at home.
“One of the biggest challenges of working in Bulawayo is that I’m never made to feel at home because there’s a certain group of people in Bulawayo who think that they own it, they must validate you (first). I can perform in Harare and they’ll call me their own, even in Victoria Falls where I’ve lived for a short while, or in Gweru or Mutare, but in Bulawayo, I get a lot of hate from the people there,” he said.
Ncube also pointed out that in Bulawayo, instead of people celebrating achievements, they are always looking at the bad things.
“If we look at the discussion that we have especially from Bulawayo, it’s less of celebrating the good we’ve done. It’s more of celebrating where we aren’t doing very well. Yet we are the biggest in so many areas.
“There was a year when Sandra Ndebele was the biggest artiste in the country, was anyone celebrating her, NO! Apple Seed (Bongo Maffin) was the biggest thing in South Africa, but were we celebrating him, NO.”
However, event co-ordinator Archie Mhone, who also joined the live debate, said he found it difficult to believe that these unnamed eight have such a vice grip on the local arts industry.
“Are you telling me that there are people controlling the city’s venues, equipment and the people who come to your shows? I think we’re giving people too much credit.
“As artistes, we aren’t hustling enough in my opinion. We’re just using scapegoats to cover our shortcomings. There’s a barrier to enter entertainment everywhere and you have to decide whether to be bigger than the barrier or not,” said Mhone.
He said people needed to work hard at their craft and look for shows to put money in their pockets.
This conversation sparked a huge debate with many artistes wondering who the infamous eight were while others said the number had grown after five were named some two years ago. The Chronicle