Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Arts Reporter
After extra measures to deal with the new Covid-19 variant were unveiled on Tuesday, several musical shows set to host international artistes are now in doubt following the requirement of mandatory quarantine upon entry into the country.
Some of the shows lined up this month where foreigners are expected to perform take place in less than 14 days, the time one is expected to spend in self quarantine.
This has led to panic among show promoters and artistes who had already made arrangements.
According to the announced rules on quarantine, people are expected to isolate for 14 days when they enter into the country before mixing with the general public.
The measures were put in place to curb the spread of the virus, as the latest variant called Omicron has been detected in neighbouring South Africa and Botswana.
One of the biggest shows dubbed the “Home Coming”, featuring South African musician Focalistic, Buffalo Soul Jah, Nox, Stunner and Winky D is on the list of the affected shows.
The show is scheduled to take place on December 11 at Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).
Now, the organisers are left with eight days which are short of the prescribed 14 days, with some artistes billed to perform on the night such as Focalistic, Buffalo Souljah and Nox coming from South Africa.
As if this was not enough, Winky D is scheduled to fly out this weekend for the “Johannesburg Shutdown Family Concert” featuring Busiswa and Paddy Watts.
This means upon return, he will not be part of the HICC concert as he will be have to go into quarantine.
Apart from the HICC show, gospel musician Janet Manyowa is hosting “A night of thanksgiving” on December 12 featuring South African-based Zimbabwean musician Takesure Zamar, Pastor G, Celebration Choir and The Unveiled.
Even if Zamar was to travel today, he will not be able to come out of quarantine before the show.
Manyowa’s husband and manager Munyaradzi said: “We would like to take this opportunity to say the concert is going ahead as scheduled under the set conditions by the Government of Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and also observing the World Health Organisation Covid-19 guidelines.
“As for the concerned artiste who is coming from South Africa, we are working with relevant authorities who have promised to get back to us at their earliest convenience and we will be guided by their response.
“We will communicate that position to our fans and many others who have already bought tickets for the event. Again, we would like to reiterate that the event is going ahead as scheduled. Should that change, we will communicate through our normal communication channels.”
National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) director Nicholas Moyo said the arts and creative sector has to take heed of the new Covid-19 control measures and plan afresh.
He said there was no debate around the issue, although these events had been cleared.
“These are new developments and we did not plan for this,” said Moyo. “The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone ,and now we have a new variant, Omicron.
“The world has turned around and we should be able to adapt to the changes no matter what the situation. I urge all promoters and artistes to immediately start planning anew. What is impossible is impossible, and we can’t debate about that.
“The quarantine issue should be taken seriously, henceforth for those with shows scheduled with foreign artistes or those local artistes who have travelled, they should come forth and discuss new dates with his council.
“It is a matter of postponing or having a new plan because of the current situation,” Moyo said. “Yes, we have cleared the shows, but this virus has taken the world by storm and no one had planned for this.
“There was a show scheduled at the Theatre in The Park that was ending around 9pm or 10pm, but we spoke with the organisers and they are already making a new poster with adjustments.”
Moyo said a lot of consultations were taking place and urged the arts sector to remain vigilant.
“We should respect the calls made by the Government and follow all the correct procedures. We might have some changes, but I can’t promise that. For now, let’s stick to the rules, if there are any changes, I will advise later”
Businessman and show promoter, Letmore Mbidzo, who is behind the “Homecoming Concert”, said they were following the new measures and will announce the latest developments soon.
“I have sent my team to the NACZ to hear the correct position on what to do next. The event had already been cleared and preparations are at an advanced stage. We got to know about the latest development and it has somehow affected us, but we respect the call by the Government and we follow that.
“It is true Winky D is part of the show and has another show scheduled in South Africa. Again, this new variant has affected artistes in a huge way as you can see they will end up abandoning some events and sticking to what pays most so that they won’t be affected much. We will update you with the latest developments, but as of now we wait to hear from NACZ on what’s next.”