The Sunday Mail
Features & Arts Editor
DEPUTY Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Honourable Tino Machakaire has been hailed by artistes from across the board for his unifying gesture, which saw musicians from all over Zimbabwe perform at the Wedza South Arts Festival on Christmas Day.
The Wedza South legislator brought together artistes from Bulawayo, Gwanda, Harare, Kwekwe and various other parts of the country in a move that showed that the arts sector unifies the country. Dance groups and poets also took part in the proceedings, which saw over 30 artistes sharing the stage.
Bulawayo-based jazz crooner Jeys Marabini said in terms of professionalism, organisation, communication, treatment of artistes and how to manage a programme, some major festivals in the country have so much to learn from the Wedza South Arts Festival.
“We were well-paid in advance, which shows trust. There were no renegotiations or reneging on what had been agreed on. To see all those thousands of young and old people coming to support one of their own, the hospitality, the stage design, PA system and the facilities accorded artistes — it was very inspiring,” said Marabini.
He applauded Honourable Machakaire for the initiative.
“The deputy minister is investing in Zimbabwe, investing in love, peace, happiness and oneness. Music unites people, be it in times of trouble, celebrations or just appreciating life. We wish to see this sort of event happening often. He is a good example of how to live in peace and harmony.”
Marabini said despite the fact that most people could not understand what he was singing about, they received him well and appreciated his music.
Marabini, who has been invited to be part of the event again this year, said the Wedza South Arts Festival is actually a national event and should be recognised as such.
“Zimbabwe must support that festival, companies have to join in and make it even bigger. More importantly, though, is that the deputy minister himself is a unifier and has pledged that in his new role, he is going to be taking this fete nationwide. He told me of his love for Zimbabwe and I believe him and think that this is the leadership the youth, the arts and sport fraternities need.”
Peter Moyo, who hails from Kwekwe, described the event as well organised. He said it was an honour to be part of such a list of fellow musicians.
“The crowd loved our act and so did the Honourable (the deputy minister), who said he was shocked by how well we delivered our act,” said Peter.
Selmor Mtukudzi, who represented female musicians well at the event, said she was elated to perform for such a different crowd.
“It is not every day that an artiste gets to perform for such a diverse crowd. It was our first time being invited to play there and as usual we brought with us our A-game to the stage. The people loved it and we loved their energy and their appreciation of our music.
“It is reassuring to know that the person who makes such an event happen every year is also one of those charged with representing our interests in the Government. It is a clear reflection of his potential and abilities in terms of being able to carry our message and advance our interests,” said Selmor’s spokesperson, Sandra Mtukudzi.
Speaking through his manager Hillary Mutake, Jah Signal said the Wedza South Arts Festival was a wonderful platform.
“Being chosen to be among all those Zimbabwean superstars was humbling for us. We hope that it happens every year. The honourable deputy minister has created an amazing platform and we can only imagine what he can do now that he sits in the office responsible not just for the arts and sport, but for the youth as well,” said Mutake.
Radio personality Phathisani Sibanda, who has a wealth of experience working with artistes at various record labels, festivals and at Star FM, said every artiste wanted to be at the Wedza South Arts Festival.
“It is unfortunate that the event is held in just a single day, and they (artistes) can’t all fit into that one line-up,” said Sibanda, adding, “This event has united artistes from all over Zimbabwe. This is the most happening festival held by Zimbabweans to celebrate the Zimbabwean culture.”
Other artistes that took part include Alick Macheso, Mathias Mhere, Killer T, Nicholas “Madzibaba” Zakaria, Leonard Zhakata, Mambo Dhuterere, Bolamba Cultural Dance, Hwinza, Kinnah, Andy Muridzo and Jah Prayzah to name just a few.
Meanwhile, Honourable Machakaire, who has a strong business background, said artistes and sportspeople should never be reduced to beggars or be used as instruments for sowing division among the people.
“This is why we have plans to have recording studios for youths from any part of this country to get their chance at stardom. Our talented youngsters must not wallow in poverty simply because they do not have the money to pay a producer or for recording time, the Government will provide,” said Honourable Machakaire, adding: “We will also ensure availability of facilities such as affordable gyms for our sports people because we want them to succeed and be important economic players.”
He said his new portfolio at the ministry requires him to ensure that the arts and sport sectors foster unity among the people and help develop the nation.
“I have been bringing artistes together at my homestead in Wedza for years. However, as a national leader now and not just a businessman, I thought we would do well to bring all artistes, as long as they are Zimbabwean, to the same stage to celebrate their unique talents,” said Honourable Machakaire, popularly known as Tinmac, the name of one of his companies, Tinmac Investments.
He said he believes that sport is the biggest political party in the world, and music and the arts are the lifeblood that runs through the veins of existence itself.
“From a politics point of view, nothing beats the arts and sports, in terms of uniting people of all shapes, sizes, colour and creed. But I’m also a businessman and believe that through sport and the arts, we can contribute meaningfully to the economy through bringing in the much sought-after foreign currency.”