Andrew Moyo and Takudzwa Chihambakwe
In a few hours’ time it will be goodbye 2017, hello 2018. But as we celebrate the dawn of a new season, it is imperative that we reflect on the past year as they say the “past shapes the future”.
The local arts sector just like any other entity in the country has had its highs and lows signalling mixed fortunes for artistes. Generally, there is not much to talk about in the local arts sector but most artistes are hopeful their fortunes will improve in the coming year courtesy of the new political dispensation.
The new political environment led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa has revived hope not only for the arts sector but every other division in the country.
Likewise, a New Year customarily comes with prospects of better fortunes as people make resolutions with high hopes that they will be more successful in their endeavours. The Sunday Mail Society last week interviewed a number of arts practitioners to get their feeling on the past year and plans for the new season.
Alick Macheso (Musician)
The sungura king disappointed his multitudes of fans after he dumped his 2017 album release plans. Here is what Macheso had to say about the past year and his future plans: “Like I said before, I’m upset because I failed to release my album as initially promised. I sincerely apologise to my fans.
“I know they would have loved to dance to our music on Christmas as well as New Year’s Day celebrations, however, I will fine-tune the project during our short break in January and it will be released in the first quarter of the year just like was the case with ‘Tsoka Dzerwendo’ in 2016. Apart from the album, I’m grateful to our fans for the unwavering support. May they carry that spirit into the new year.”
Josh Hozheri (Promoter)
The veteran promoter said numerous challenges that came his way did not derail him.
“I successfully hosted a three-day ‘Time and Jazz Music Festival’, headlined by local acts. We also managed to host Werrason from DRC and this was one of our most successful gigs this year.
“In addition, I am carrying on with my talent search and grooming projects. In the past year I have been working with Romeo Gasa and Pamela ‘Gonyeti’ Zulu who have permanent weekly slots at Time and Jazz Café. Gasa headlines a new concept called ‘Executive Sungura Nights’ held every Thursday. I want to do two jazz festivals and invite one big foreign artiste to come and share the stage with upstarts.”
2 Kings Entertainment (promoter)
2 Kings Entertainment have in the past year been the most dominant music promotion company on the local showbiz scene. Speaking in an interview, co-founder Dee Nosh said 2017 was a good year despite liquidity challenges.
“I believe one of our greatest achievements this year is how we managed to stay relevant and functional, giving patrons value for money. We helped Jah Prayzah launch one of his biggest albums ‘Kutonga Kwaro’. Besides hosting international acts in major cities, we also hosted a gig featuring Mafikizolo in Kadoma.
“Challenges we faced include the pricing of our gigs. At times we under-priced gigs for the sake of revellers but that in turn adversely affected our bottom line. However, 2018 will be bigger and better. More is in store.”
Takura (hip-hop artiste)
This is one artiste who has managed to keep his star shining despite representing a genre that has thus far struggled to find proper footing.
“I managed to work with big corporates like Gtel and Golden Pilsener in the past year and I’m looking forward to working with more corporates next year. What disappointed me though is the prevailing system that slowed down my music release. For example, the rate at which I record songs and videos is way faster than the rate they are released. But that is going to change in 2018. The anomaly is being addressed.”
Plot Mhako (Outgoing director — Jibilika Dance Trust)
“2017 was a difficult but fulfilling year for Jibilika. Despite the prevailing economic challenges we defied odds and hosted our festival successfully without funding. Also we launched the Zim hip-hop summit.
“The biggest highlight though was the coming in of a new political dispensation. It removed a cloud of fear, uncertainty and presented a new window of liberties, hope and optimism for the overall arts sector.
“My New Year’s resolution is to consolidate the gains from the new dispensation in the country and transform them into tangible results for the arts sector. Jibilika Festival takes a new exciting path after ten years and will be offering an enhanced programme.”
Thabani Mubochwa (Fashion designer)
The talented designer is probably one of the few artistes that will reflect on the past year with a smile.
“It was such an incredible year for us, such that we have no low points. Things that tried to derail us, God turned around and used in our favour.
“We are very pleased with the traction we have made locally, regionally and internationally. We have many highs from 2017 but the major one was being selected to represent Zimbabwe at the UNESCO Africa Fashion Reception in Ethiopia and Paris. Another milestone was being asked to conceptualise, design and dress multi-award-winning artiste, Jah Prayzah.
“The list is endless. 2018 has already started for us and we are looking forward to spreading our global footprint while contributing in any way we can to rebuild and revive the Zimbabwean fashion and textile industry.”
Daves Guzha (Theatre practitioner)
“Theatre in the Park played host to a myriad of events ranging from the much anticipated Mokoomba album launch. The Hifa and EU film festival confirmed the venue as an enabler of artistic consumption .It was endorsed as a key strategic venue. Album launches from various musicians dominated Friday nights while children’s theatre by Chipawo took centre stage on Saturdays.
“Our production, ‘Lamentations at 12’ trailblazed Mali, Tanzania and relations were restored with Edinburgh after the country’s absence from this mecca of the arts for close to eight years. A new partnership was struck with Biljmapark Theatre in the Netherlands. Energised by the new dispensation, we will hit the ground running in 2018 and upscale our theatre shows, film production and grow audiences as we aim for sustainability.”
Doc Vikela (comedian)
He has been in the comedy industry for a while, capturing the hearts of many with his rib-cracking jokes and has awards for that but his highest moment came this year.
“The biggest highlight was God blessing me with a baby girl, Princess Ayana Mufaro. I also managed to stage a successful national comedy tour and hosted a one-man show during the Hifa week.
“Another success was my selection to be the face of Chibuku — my face is all over the place on the Chibuku billboards. I also got a television show with Zimpapers Television Network, my first ever TV show, dubbed ‘Pachiteshi’. Also the past year saw me act in my first movie, a Joe Njagu production called, ‘Tete B’, yet to be released though. In 2018 I plan to produce a much bigger and better comedy tour.”
Mathias Mhere (Musician)
“I toured Canada, Australia and Ireland for the first time and I managed to penetrate the international market through classic videos. Some of them are being played on Trace TV and Zambezi Magic. For next year, I want my forthcoming album ‘Panogara Nyasha’ to break records.
“I also wish to increase my international tours as well as boost my visibility on the African continent. I aim to see a collaboration with Sinach come to fruition since I failed this year.”
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