Mbulelo Mpofu and Langalakhe Mabhena
Artistes have expressed gratitude to the Government for conferring the city of Bulawayo with the honour of hosting this year’s main Independence celebrations, saying that offered them the rare chance of being part of history.
On Monday, an array of artistes etched their names in the history books by being the chosen few to perform at the Independence Day main celebrations at Barbourfields Stadium.
The celebrations were capped off with the Independence gala later in the day.
For the first time, the main Independence celebrations were held outside the capital city, Harare, a feat hailed by artistes as a step in the right direction as the Second Republic is championing devolution and inclusivity.
The country’s 42nd anniversary celebrations were held under the theme, “[email protected] — Leaving no one and no place behind.”
The Uhuru gala saw local acts Chase Skuza, Masotha and Sungura Masters, Agartha Murudzwa, Sulumani Chimbetu, DJ Fantan, DJ Levels, Roki and the surprise inclusion of South African artistes Master KG entertaining the huge crowd.
Madlela Skhobokhobo said he was proud to have been part of the history-making brigade that performed at the musical gala on Monday night.
“I’m extremely proud to have been part of this breed of performers who will go down as the first artistes to perform at the Uhuru gala following independence celebrations held outside of Harare,” he said.
“Notably, people came in numbers to support us and that was so refreshing.
“Even in the afternoon, organisers of the celebrations showed their pedigree as shown by well-crafted displays from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and other performers who held the forte.
“At the gala in the evening, all the artistes who performed put up a splendid performance which showed that they rehearsed and were ready for the gala.
“Many thanks to the Second Republic for bringing the Independence celebrations to Bulawayo as it gave us an opportunity to celebrate with our fans.”
Madlela said the long lockdown could have been a blessing in disguise as artistes delivered polished acts.
“I think we have improved as performing artistes on stage as I noticed that everyone knew what was expected of them,” he said.
“The performances were top-notch. I think the lockdown made people realise the importance of their craft and they took time to perfect their skills.”
Madlela’s sentiments were also shared by Bulawayo music mainstay, Jeys “Jah” Marabini, who hailed the Government for putting up a “well-organised event.”
“This was a different Independence Day celebration as we had a diverse line-up plucked from different parts of the country,” he said.
“It showed a high level of organisation and competence. I strongly think that this was well done and of course, since it was in Bulawayo, I feel like more artistes from the city could have been added to the line-up.”
Roki said he was satisfied with how things panned out, saying his major highlight was having Master KG at the gala.
“The Uhuru gala was good. I enjoyed entertaining people in Bulawayo. My major highlight was being in the presence of Master KG. He’s a great artiste who has released hits and has been a continental hit,” he said.
Roki went on to hint at a collaboration with the “Jerusalema” hit-maker as the two are already in talks.
One of the sub-themes of this year’s Independence celebrations was to encourage youths to abstain from drugs and also advocate for the rights and protection of children.
On the sidelines of the gala, Chillspot Records boss DJ Fantan said: “President Mnangagwa is on the frontline in the fight against substance abuse by the youths who happen to be the future of the country.
“During our performance, we emphasised that because it’s a very important message that had to be heard by the masses who were in attendance and those watching from home.”