The Sunday Mail
THE Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) is an intimidating venue.
Just a fortnight ago, Fally Ipupa alongside superstar Dr Oliver Mtukudzi and backed by Diamond Musica and Juntal, performed for empty chairs at the HICC.
Even Jamaican singer Tarrus Riley and Zahara at some point failed to fill it up.
In the past few weeks, social media has been abuzz with news that jazz/world music act, Josh Meck, as well as award-winning hip-hop star, Takura, want to separately fill up the HICC with shows slated for December.
At first it sounded like a bad joke. Not that people should not dream, but the two attract very small crowds at their regular shows.
One wonders why they really want to fill up the HICC. Is it an issue of seeking relevance or is this brand buttressing?
The Sunday Mail Society recently got in touch with the two artistes to find out if these are just social media jokes or genuine projects that have been set in motion.
“Filling up the HICC is not even the main objective. The work that’s going to be done in order to fill it up is,” said Meck.
“I am not going to wake up one morning and miraculously fill up the HICC. I have already embarked on the road to fill up HICC, which will have many activities going on and I can’t disclose those at the moment. But filling up the HICC is just a tip of the iceberg, the issue goes beyond that.”
Could this be attention seeking?
“I am not seeking relevance,” he said.
“First of all, I have faith as small as a mustard seed in what I am going to do and I am sure it’s just good enough to drive the project into success. If I fill up the HICC, it will be a step in the right direction to the beginning of bigger things. I am glad that fans are in full support of this venture. So come what may, the HICC is going to be full to capacity when the time comes.”
Hip-hop star, Takura, who said he plans to invite Cassper Nyovest to his “Fill Up HICC” show, also said he is not seeking relevance.
“People can testify on my relevance. I have made chart-topping records that people voted for and won multiple awards since 2016, hence my relevance is not in question,” said Takura.
“This is all about establishing a new vigilant hip-hop order in Zimbabwe and I am happy to do it with the support of local acts.”The “Mai Mwana” hit-maker further revealed that his mission is to inspire others.
“The objective is to inspire. I got inspired by Cassper Nyovest and I feel I am in a position to put Zimbabwe on the map in that regard. We will be working with Entertainment Republic in promoting the show. It is a hard task but someone has to do it.
“I ran through expenses of having the show with my accountant and we may not even make a profit from the event but it is important that we push the cause,” he explained.
With the artistes having shared their objectives, we got in touch with a promoter who has experienced the highs and lows of Zimbabwean showbiz, Jive Zimbabwe director, Benjamin Nyandoro.Nyandoro currently holds the tag of promoting the lowest attended show in the HICC, but was also involved in the initial “Fill Up HICC” gigs by Jah Prayzah.
“Filling up the HICC is an organic process, especially if it is for the first time. One needs to utilise the value of networks. Who do you know who knows who? From that principle you grow it into sparking conversations around the HICC,” explained Nyandoro.
“I regard the HICC as the most prestigious entertainment venue in Zimbabwe. Once you fill up HICC, you earn the status. Bear in mind it is not easy. The reverse effect is equally damaging, permanently actually, if the recovery plan is not executed well,” he added.
Nyandoro advised that even getting an international artiste might not result in one filling up the HICC.
Said Nyandoro: “Filling up the HICC is a huge milestone and probably enough for many. But is has to carry a good narrative. What do you seek to achieve? Is it just excitement, just because someone else has done it?
“If it is, then you may get disappointed. This will not happen overnight. Even roping in an international act may not do the magic for you. This is an emotional initiative, whose drive should be grounded in deep thought.”