Yeukai Karengezeka-Chisepo Arts Correspondent
Top female musicians in the country have accused local promoters for snubbing them on big shows, and yet they command respect on the international platform.
Selmor Mtukudzi one of the popular afro jazz sensations in Zimbabwe was recently in Tanzania where she performed at the Karibu Festival. In an interview Selmor expressed disappointment at how local promoters were shunning female artistes.
“It’s quite painful to realise that I am invited to big events across the region but here it is rare to get such recognition. We are not given the platform to prove that we have the same capacity to thrill fans. I think authorities in the arts sector must come up with a policy that ensures that every show held must include a female artiste,” added the concerned singer,” she said.
Mbira queen Hope Masike who frequents Africa and Europe was recently in India, where she held Zimbabwe’s flag high. She said local promoters were not giving music fans a balanced diet to allow fans to judge their performances.
“Mbira music is taken for granted and we are not considered but at the end of day fans are not given a balanced diet when it comes to music. Let the audience judge our performance. It is very unfortunate that the podium has remained exclusive,” she said.
Although a lot still needs to done to get rid of gender imbalances Edith WeuTonga blamed patriarchy for the discord in the arts.
“We are in a society that is still run by a patriarchal system and audiences feed on what promoters give them. Maybe they think we are not capable. We are praying that one day we will be remembered because we have a lot of refined female artistes.”
A show promoter who spoke on condition of anonymity said female musicians needed be realistic and up their game if they were to be considered for big shows.
“Although these musicians may complain, the fact is they are not yet established brands that can attract huge audiences when it comes to shows. Most of them are popular with singles and cannot host a solo show that can lure large numbers.”
He added that the issue was not about gender, but the quality of music produced that can make the business profitable.
“Most of these songbirds that perform across the boarders are usually invited at festivals not shows. At the end of the day we choose artistes that have huge following and good at live performance as supporting acts in the event that foreign act fails to impress the audience. They are still far from being international products”.
Zimbabwe has over the years hosted several international artistes and only a few female musicians have been considered for some of these shows. Recently show promotion 2Kings Entertainment roped in Cindy Munyavi as one of the supporting acts for the Jamaican Beenieman show.