By Thobekisiwe Gumede
One of Bulawayo’s most travelled music outfit, Black Umfolosi, has bemoaned the lack of appreciation of its efforts in the music industry and in marketing the country globally as a rich tourist and cultural destination and has since approached the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services with the complaint.
Sunday Leisure caught up with the founder of the group, Tomeki Dube who revealed that the group was not being given any recognition in the country despite its efforts in raising the country’s musical and cultural flag globally.
Dube said it was as disappointing as it was odd that the Government had never bothered to recognise the group’s efforts despite promoting tourism in the country. He said they had since approached the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services and it promised to look into the issue.
“Some musicians from Harare have been honoured for their contributions and others have even been given honorary degrees and diplomatic passports. We have veteran musicians like the Cool Crooners who started singing way before independence, but they have never received anything in honour of the work they have done,” Dube said.
He said they had represented the country and done exceptionally well but had not got anything in appreciation despite their loyalty and patriotism.
“We have represented the country on a number of times. We have in so many cases been offered to relocate to the countries we would have performed but we have been refusing because we belong here and we have our country at heart,” said Dube.
He added that radio stations were not doing much to help their situation as their songs were not getting airplay.
“People generally appreciate our music but if radio stations are not giving it airplay then we are easily forgotten by many. Actually you will be shocked to find out that most people think that the group no longer exists,” said Dube.
“I think we are the most travelled group in Zimbabwe and as such we ought to be given recognition. In short we are saying the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe should do something so that artistes in Bulawayo are given the recognition they deserve,” he said.
Dube said they approached the authorities and discussed the problem in the hope that something would be done.
“We have discussed the issue with the authorities because we want to see things done differently. In our culture they say, umntwana ongakhaliyo ufela embelwekweni (someone in pain should alert those around him/her), so if we don’t talk about these things then nothing will be done,” he said.
The group is set to tour Canada before the end of the year. They have previously toured the United States, United Kingdom and several other European countries in their years on the entertainment scene.
The imbube and traditional dance outfit was formed in 1982 by the then school-going members who wanted to develop themselves and contribute to their community, a vision that became their guiding principle as the ensemble has had extensive tours nationally and internationally.
Some of their popular songs are Unity and Stofo stofo. Sunday News