Is Flo Chaurura flogging a dead horse?
Rumours claimed that Content creator, musician, Actress and Brand Ambassador, Madam Boss (real name Tarisai Chikocho) had been involved in a car accident. It was near impossible to verify the accuracy or severity of such a concerning event.
A statement on her pages much latter informed her 1.3 million followers and their mutual friends that the actress and her entourage were alive and recovering. The delayed response began an endless fallout.
Mrs Florence Chaurura is known to voice her opinions on many of issues. She felt the accident could not overlay fears of possible insurance fraud in view of inconsistent pictures on the accident scene and the injuries as a robust Range Rover vehicle seemed to have succumbed to a very tame tree while leaving no visible skid marks. The car model has many sensors to avoid accidents and is reputed to be very stable. Her point: “What’s going on here?”
Socialite Jackie Ngarande was soon to respond with great anger. She was sure that Chaurura should have kept her mouth shut. She claimed on national radio that this was a case of sour grapes as Chaurura had applied to do Madam Boss’s PR and failed.
Chaurura and her team first came to my attention during the recent lockdown. “Ndiye Muroora” a duet by her son Batsirai Shasha and Alexio Kawara prompted my curiosity. I felt I was listening to one of the most powerful new voices was collaborating with a reputed award winning musician, Kawara, now his second decade as a musician. My peers with an appreciation of Afro Jazz were surprisingly already following Batsi Shasha’s on Social media. A quick inquiry on their pages resulted in an interview.
See it here:
But what has all of this got to do with Jackie Ngarande? You may ask.
An angry Ngarande alleged on social media and on Star FM that Chaurura had approached her and Madam Boss to promote what the latter two felt was a talentless son who had dreams to become a musician. That prompted the question: Is Flo Chaurura flogging a dead horse?
I managed to approach Chaurura. I also spoke to Batsi Shasha for a separate interview which had been long scheduled but was hastily brought forward.
Chaurura said: “I realized that Tyra was involved in an accident on a Saturday going to Makhadzi’s show. It drew attention to her. My weekend was busy. On Monday I wanted to post a get well soon message. On her page was a note. It was not well articulated, general and casual and lacked depth. It was very casual for a person of high callibre, at the peak of her career with more than 1.3 million followers. I respect her. I am talking from a corporate side as an over 55 who runs a business. There is need for a PR person who can run the business. Why would I not have sympathy for her?”
“Which police attended to the scene? We didn’t see any skid marks. The extent of the damage to the car was inconsistent with the injuries. How come there was no proper press statement. Ginimbi died and there was openness. People were there, passerby cars. Ginimbi was equal to Madam Boss. I was not going to court about it. It was social interaction asking for the pics. There was no blood.”
“there is insurance involved so police involvement removes any other thoughts. So police come in and say: ‘A 32 year old woman was involved in accident. No casualties.”
“I feel a PR company would have handled things differently.”
But did Chaurura apply for a PR job for Madam Boss: “That’s fabricated. I am so busy. I run several brands for over 30 years. I don’t have time to do PR for anyone. There is nothing personal about this. I would have appreciated for her followers to have clarity after the accident. Noone can pay me. I pay myself heftily from my own business.”
On Jackie doing Madam Boss’s PR: “I would have appreciated her followers to be well-informed, and I am one of them. I don’t know which platform Jackie is coming from. Madam Boss is a big brand and should not be having Jackie, a socialite, doing PR. It’s very unprofessional. Jackie has no authority or capacity as a person or as a brand to address any authority on the issue. I am sure she is just a friend but in the eyes of the public you don’t send a casual person like that to manage your PR.”
“For Jackie to say Batsi (and Kireni Ziulu) can not sing, I think it’s very childish. I am older. She wanted to Bluetooth some hate. She wanted to hurt Batsi because she sees him as a softie compared to his mum. Which platform is Jackie standing on? She is not an artist, she is not an artist’s manager. She is not in the media. Which platform is she standing on?”
As Batsi’s manager are you flogging a dead horse? Are you promoting a talentless Artist? “No. I wouldn’t be bothered (if he didn’t have the talent). Pushing an artist is expensive. It costs US$150 to record a song. It costs almost US$1000 dollars to record a video. As a business person I look for returns. He studied as far as Midlands State University. He has over 88,000 followers on Facebook. And 8000 on YouTube. He was hired by Amnesty International. So brands appreciate his originality and authenticity.”
“Jackie is entitled to her opinion. But she also needs to qualify her opinion. Is it the range, depth, pitch or discord, is it an unpopular genre? You can’t just criticize without qualifying the criticism. She leaves her statement hanging.”
“Batsi has over 100 songs on Youtube. He sang with Mai TT, Feli Nandi (44,000 views) Andy Muridzo, Van Choga and he has lots of views. His original sound is Afro Jazz but can sing any genre.
“He plays all instruments, drums, piano, acoustic guitar, recorder and anything oyu want him to. College of Music recognized him after his stint there. He was taught mbira one on one at Music Crossroads.”
Does he have the voice? “He has a small stature but huge voice. You will be blown away. They even reduce the volume at his shows. His uncle in Jethro Shasha the drummer. Sam Mataure played with Jethro Shasha. So it runs in the family.”
“He has had vocal training from Prudence Katomeni and keyboards with Trust Mutombo.”
“It surprises me Jackie went on to criticize his music because everybody knows how close I am to my son. To hurt me more maybe she looked at me and went for the weaker one in our family. Batsi is 26. They think he is 15 or 16 because of his short stature.”
“Batsi has a gift and everybody knows. Trust Mutombo, Mokoomba’s Trust Samemnde produced him, he has his own social circle of artists that he hangs out with. He has a song with Diana Samukange. He had lunch with Trevor Dongo recently. He has that capacity to represent the Zimbabwean sound like Tuku. We want him to do festivals like Mokoomba. His music is played out to live audiences before they are recorded in studio. He records for live audiences. He has a future in music.”
“This whole started very hatefully because people didn’t know where I was coming from. I stand for what people are un-comfortable to talk about. We have people who are now questioning the incident itself. Zimbabwe should live in harmony and we should be answerable for our actions as long we have a public platform. People have made you who you are. You have to be comfortable with being accountable. I am not scared because because I stand for what I believe in. Everyone is allowed to ask questions. I teach people “Ngadzikakate.” Meaning ‘Let your brain go to work.’”
Is this fallout affecting Batsi’s career? Did his figures go down? “Funny enough it all turned out very good. Batsi is releasing a song. His numbers have gone up. He gained 1000 YouTube followers in 24hrs. I gained 7000 people in 24hrs which is huge!”
‘We are individuals with brands, not partners. In the public domain it’s beautiful to be engaging. Maybe not for brands. But engagement is good. Let’s allow people to say how they feel. Brands can’t afford to go off topic. They have to leave up to an image.
If Flo Chaurura flogging a dead horse? Ultimately, the answer lies in the numbers. He has over 8000 subscribers enough to monetize his pages. To monetize you need 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours in one calendar year.
Via Apple store a musician can monetize directly without reaching these matrixes. Another matrix is the views. His song “Terera Moyo” a duet with Feli Nandi has 44,000 views. His duet with Andy Muridzo “Tsvarakadenga” has 107,000 views. “Gotwe’ with Mai Titi has 426,000 views. With Diana Samukange they reached 12,000 views.
All of this ignores the fact music is also played on radio, facebook (where his numbers are even higher with 88,000 followers), other streaming services, on TV, live shows as well as the piracy scourge whose only positive is increased visibility for Artists.
Jackie Ngarande may have been emotional which is very understandable in the circumstances though the blow was considered below the belt.
Afro Jazz artists who play instruments like mbira and guitar and live instrumental music are in demand in Zim to fill the niche left by Oliver Mtukudzi, Thomas Mapfumo and others. No, Shasha is not a copycat of these two.
But a large number if Zimbabweans and others still want the acoustic instrument sound that the country has been known for for years. Encouraging the young man and seeing him as a 26 year old individual with his own views will go a long way in promoting the enterprise.