By Bongani Ndlovu
The promoter of the abandoned Uhuru Festival in Bulawayo, South Africa-based Nqobizitha “Nqoza” Ncube of Nqoza Entertainment, has spoken out saying he decided to call off the show because of various things that were beyond his control that saw him lose about R200 000.
The Uhuru Festival was supposed to be held on Saturday – the last day of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair – but failed to take off under unclear circumstances.
Nqoza however, said among the problems that bedevilled the show were that the foreign artistes – Professor, Dr Malinga and Stiff had not been cleared by immigration.
He laid the blame on his local partner Bongani Mutsau who he claims was tasked to work on those logistics while he was in South Africa negotiating contracts with the SA acts.
“I’d given Mutsau all the monies that were needed and I lost R200 000 on this show. I asked him to sort out the issues of clearances and all, but when I got to Bulawayo a day before the show, that wasn’t done,” said a dejected Nqoza.
“To try and sort things out, I asked the police to assist me to find out what I’m supposed to do and they suggested that I go to the Department of Immigration the next day. So on Saturday (day of show) morning, I went there and was told to wait until 10AM. At around 8.30AM, I called Dr Malinga’s manager and told him not to board the plane as I had decided to postpone the show,” said Nqoza from his South African base.
He said without the permits, the SA artistes were not going to be allowed entry into the country hence his decision to shelve the show.
Showing off payment made to Professor and Dr Malinga, Nqoza said the reason Stiff – who ranted about abandoning the Bulawayo show because of being given one way tickets – had one way tickets was because they were added onto the line-up at the last hour.
“According to Scotch (Professor’s manager), Professor does not travel alone, but with Stiff. So the reason I hadn’t bought them return tickets was that I was now over budget. I therefore booked flights for a one way flight with plans to arrange return tickets for them by Monday morning,” said Nqoza.
But, contrary to Nqoza’s failed immigration artiste’s clearance claim, Professor’s manager, days before the concert, had communicated that Nqoza had not paid for his artiste’s airfare and the rest of his performance fees – hence their decision to abandon the show. Nqoza, who had paid a deposit, however, said he only delayed with the rest of the payment by one day.
“Scotch told me to hold payment of the rest of Professor’s money because I delayed by one day. I did so, and when I tried calling him, I couldn’t get any headway so I waited and didn’t get any response.”
Dr Malinga, who works closely with Nqoza in SA, was paid in full and was raring to perform in Bulawayo, according to Nqoza.
As for Madlela Skhobokhobo, Nqoza had not paid him and actually owed him some monies from a previous show that he organised in Victoria Falls some time back.
But, Nqoza said he was not deterred by this setback as he is still planning to host the Uhuru Festival.
“I’ve learnt a very valuable lesson that I should do everything by myself. The people I’d tasked weren’t trustworthy. So I’ve reapplied to the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, Zimra and Immigration so we’re waiting for their response.
“Once I get the go ahead, the Uhuru Festival will be back in full force and a date of the event will be released soon,” he said.
Fortunately, no advance tickets had been sold for the failed show.
“No advance tickets were sold because things weren’t going well from last Monday so I told my crew not to sell advance tickets for the show as I felt that something wasn’t right about the show.” The Chronicle