By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
The six member group that is backing renowned Mbira music maestro, Stella Chiweshe, is bitter that she is refusing to pay them their dues after shows.
The group approached Nehanda Radio and spoke out against what they said was unprofessional treatment by Chiweshe.
The backing members identified themselves as Costa Mabani, Dinnas Kamushinda, Timothy Manyange, Charles Hungwe, Fungisai Joe and one Simbarashe.
They claimed that Chiweshe had of late been evasive regarding their wages after performing shows. In the latest incident, they said, Chiweshe tried to flee from them after a show at Tanzanite Night Club in Chitungwiza last Friday.
They said they are supposed to get $50 per member for a single show.
“We trained for a whole week and used our own money for transport. After the show, Gogo (Chiweshe) tried to sneak away and we had to go after her.
“She then stopped her car and we asked her why she was running away from us. She promised to give us our money on Sunday but, since then, she has not been answering our calls,” said one of the band members.
They said repeated failure by Chiweshe to pay them had turned them near destitute and they believe she had taken sanctuary at her farm in Mhondoro.
“We are having conflicts with our wives at home because they think that we are lying that Gogo is not paying us. On many shows, she has been paying us just a fraction of what we are supposed to get and she owes us a lot of money,” said a second band member.
Chiweshe ignored numerous calls and a short message from Nehanda Radio on her number and thus could not be reached for a comment.
The mbira granny who turns 70 in July has over the decades mesmerised the world with her songs and has numerous albums to her name, among them Ambuya, Talking Mbira, The Healing Tree, The Best Of Stella Chiweshe and Shungu.
He career took her to most of Europe and she is locally hailed as a symbol of cultural preservation after deciding to take to the mbira when the instrument was forbidden for women in colonial Rhodesia.
She has, however, been slowing down, apparently due to age. Nehanda Radio