By Bongani Ndlovu
The prevailing economic challenges have affected Bulawayo’s showbiz sector as most music promoters are unable to bring the city’s favourite musicians from South Africa.
Not many Mzansi acts have made it to the city this year compared to previous years.
Last year at around this time, South African house duo Distruction Boyz were preparing for their second show at the now defunct Club Connect while DJ Tira had rocked the city of Kings at the same venue.
Zodwa Wabantu had already warmed up the summer season with a show at Club Connect in June while Lady Zamar had staged a show at Cosmopolitan in April.
The summer season is upon us but there is not much to look forward to besides the Kalawa Homecoming Party that has revealed that Emtee and Mlindo the Vocalist from South Africa, will be part of the headline acts.
OK Malumkoolkat is billed to perform in the city during a Beer Marathon that will take place at Zarah Lounge, Crystal and Cosmopolitan Club.
Places like Hartsfield Tshisanyama in the past would have announced the shows lined up for the Christmas festivities but this year it seems there is nothing.
This is the place where the likes of Black Motion and Black Coffee have in the past been permanent fixtures.
Harare, however, seems to be enjoying the South African acts as Cassper, Prince Kaybee are scheduled to perform there next month, Moonchild Sanelly performed there recently at Shoko Festival. DJ Tira and SA socialite Faith Nketsi also graced Ginimbi’s Club Sankayi.
The Bulawayo revellers who are now starved of entertainment, have again been hit hard by sharp increases in the price of beers at nightclubs.
The cheapest lager now costs $3 to $4, up from about $1,50. Those who prefer whiskeys at nightspots are now forking out $110 for bottles like Johnny Walker Black Label which used to sell for $60.
Promoters who spoke to Chronicle Showbiz said they could not bring South African acts because of foreign currency shortages.
The promoters said it was also suicidal for them to buy forex on the black market as the rates were outrageous.
Biggie Chinoperekwei who runs Zansibar, Club 263, Private Lounge and Mqombothi said there will be no South African singers this year because it does not make business sense.
“This year, we’re doing nothing because those people (SA acts) are like imports and their prices are like imported products. We’re unable to get forex from our banks to pay them.
“For us to bring them we should be having some free funds outside the country but we don’t have. Promoting SA artistes shows at the moment is very unprofitable,” said Chinoperekwei who has hosted Zodwa Wabantu, DJ Tira and Tipcee among other SA artistes.
He said they have since shifted their focus to promoting local artistes.
Manu Mahaso who manages Cosmopolitan, the sister nightspot of Crystal and Zarah Lounge said bringing SA acts was a bonus for their clients but they could not do so now given the prevailing economic challenges.
“When we bring artistes from South Africa, it is a bonus to our clients who have been supporting us for the past year. However, in this economic environment it is difficult to give that bonus to our clients.
“What we are doing instead is to concentrate on improving the quality of service were are offering,” said Mahaso whose spots have hosted the likes of Lady Zamar, Heavy K and Prince Kaybee.
Mduduzi Mdlongwa of 3D Events said they were looking into investing in local acts as they did with Jah Prayzah and Winky D’s shows earlier this year.
He said Black Motion and Black Coffee want a payment of R120 000 and R300 000 respectively which is beyond their reach.
The popular promoter who manages Hartsfield Tshisanyama said with the prevailing situation in the country, he could not commit to bringing the artistes in December. The Chronicle.