|Club Shanga’s Europe tour in doubt|
|Tuesday, 05 April 2011 21:17|
Music Crossroads regional winners Club Shanga's tour of Europe hangs in the balance after it emerged this week that most of the band members do not have travel documents.
Out of the seven members only one has got a passport while the rest are still to get their "Green Cards".
The Marondera-based outfit had been given until March 25, 2011 to submit their passports to finalise travel arrangements as well as sorting out their itinerary in Spain, Holland, Belgium, Ireland, Sweden and Austria.
Club Shanga won the ticket to tour Europe after they beat other groups in the Music Crossroads Inter-regional festival talent contest held in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, last year.
The group overcame competition from Malawi, Mozambique, hosts Tanzania and Zambia.
During their tour of Tanzania, the group had to use Emergency Travel Documents.
However, things turned sour after the group was told that they were unable to travel to Europe using ETDs.
And now time is running out for Club Shanga which is scheduled to start their European tour between May and July this year.
So far Music Crossroads Zimbabwe has tried to apply for passports for the group members through the Marondera Passport Office.
And on February 7 this year, Nicholas Moyo, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe deputy director, on behalf of the group wrote a letter to the Registrar- General applying for urgent passports.
However, up to now the group members are still to get their passports way past the March 25 deadline by which the visa applications were supposed to have been made.
Seeing that there was little success, the Music Crossroads then wrote another letter to the Minister of Home Affairs on March 3, 2011 expressing concern that the passports were needed for three Euro Visas, the Schengen Visa, the Irish Visa and British Visa before the tour.
In the letter Music Crossroads said Club Shanga would embark on an ambassadorial duty in Europe and requested the issuing of passports.
Dag Franzen, the Music Crossroads International director based in Spain, also wrote to the Registrar- General expressing the need for the group to tour Europe.
Franzen said the tour would afford Club Shanga a chance to interact with young artistes in the European countries and share the important cultural heritage of Zimbabwe.
However, by yesterday Club Shanga members had not secured passports and only a miracle would save the tour that would certainly change their lives.
Contacted for comment, Zimbabwean representative of the Music Crossroads, Mathias Bangure, could neither confirm nor deny that the tour was in doubt.
"Please could you wait until tomorrow (today), I will get back to you," Bangure said.
Previous local regional winners Bongo Love from Bulawayo successfully toured Europe and other parts of the world.
Mokoomba from Victoria Falls also toured Europe and they have since become a hit overseas.
The European tour had come at a time when the group was at its all-time peak especially after scooping the Chibuku Road to Fame first prize last year.
The Music Crossroads contest started in Zimbabwe in 1996 and has grown to become the largest and most popular youth cultural initiative in sub-Saharan Africa offering unique opportunities for young people aged between 15 and 25 from marginalised backgrounds.
Through 40 annual festivals, workshops and competitions in five target countries, one band is selected as the winner at the inter-regional festival.
The group will then be awarded with the trip to European countries.
The six-week European tour includes concerts in large and small venues as well as workshops in schools and cultural centres - organised together with the non-profit organisation called Jeunesses Musicales network.