Fred Zindi  Music
Everywhere,  many young musicians, radio and television personalities and actors yearn for success and to become famous, but how many of them realise that rewards always come at a cost. Many  have had to trade their privacy for fame. To climb the success ladder,  musicians and other celebrities risk an imbalance in life and work.

People like Oliver Mtukudzi, Thomas Mapfumo, Louis Mhlanga, Andy Brown, John Chibadura, The Four Brothers, The Bhundu Boys, Mokoomba and many others, earned fame within Zimbabwe and outside because of their natural talents. They did not seek out to be famous. Fame came to them naturally.

However, there are some young people who will do whatever it takes to achieve fame. Their ambition is to leave no stone unturned in on order to become famous. They will hustle their way into the music world either by becoming members of groups without much talent to show for it or forcing their way into becoming radio DJs and television presenters in order to become famous.

As if that is not enough, some will go out of their way to do what the Kardashians did to get famous and get a role on American television. For instance, some of the Kardashian sisters are said to have exposed sex tapes in order to get attention from the public, and in 2011, Kim Kardashian married NBA player Kris Humphries in a highly publicised wedding ceremony, but filed for divorce 72 days later. This caused widespread backlash from the public and media.

Several news outlets surmised that Kardashian’s marriage to Humphries was merely a publicity stunt, to promote the Kardashian family’s brand and their subsequent television ventures.

Fame used to be a by-product of success. According to recent research conducted in the United States, becoming famous is the primary life goal of 51 percent of all young people aged between 18 and 25 years . How applicable this is to Zimbabwean youths is a matter of debate.

I have had the opportunity of observing some young would-be musicians and actors who really want to get famous at all costs. They believe that in order to achieve this, they should engage in something extraordinary. Some will go out of their way to exhibit raunchy dance routines while on stage. Others will film their private sex lives and expose these to social media networks such as Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp or Twitter.

However, in my opinion, fame seeking behaviour is unhealthy as it hinders personal growth or physical health.
Psychologists have linked fame seeking behaviour with feelings of rejection or abandonment. They contend that people who feel ignored or neglected when they are young have a tendency to chase recognition and approval once they become adults as that is the way to get attention and the love they feel they deserve.

Michael Jackson is the product of a failed musician, Joseph Jackson, who sought compensation to his failures by making his children, Jackie, Tito, Jermain, Marlon, Steven and Randy (The Jackson 5) achieve what he had failed to achieve. As the Jacksons became famous, he in a way also became famous. He was then satisfied and proud to be the father of a famous pop group. However, Michael is said to have had no childhood at all as he was not allowed to play with other children or with toys.

When he grew up and had made a lot of money, he built himself Neverland Ranch which had a Ferris wheel and 50 foot carousel among many other gadgets where he played with children and engaged in attention- seeking behaviour by doing all sorts of weird things to attract attention and bring back the life he missed as a child.

In Zimbabwe, in the early 1970s African musicians were not allowed by the government of the time to mix with white musicians. However, a few “mischievous” white kids would sneak in at black music festivals dubbed “Rock Band Contests” because they could not resist the attraction from such music.

The Rhodesia Herald was always present at such festivals but the news would be relegated to the inside pages of the newspapers. Only white people appeared on the front pages of the Herald. In 1972, a music festival was held at Gwanzura Stadium where the lead guitarist of Dr. Footswitch Band, Manu Kambani, outshone everyone by his unique guitar solos which he emulated the late American guitarist, Jimi Hendrix,  and a stage act which involved playing the guitar from the back and sometimes using his tongue.

He was also wearing a T-shirt with Hendrix’s picture and emblazoned with the caption, “Jimi Hendrix is Dead, But Manu is Alive”. The journalists who were present found it irresistible to capture such an event and the editor of the Rhodesia Herald decided to make it front-page news. This became one of the rare occasions when a black face appeared at the front of the white-owned national newspaper.

The next day there was an uproar from the conservative whites who criticised the appearance of Manu’s picture on the front page of the Herald. They also accused the editor of the Rhodesia Herald of lowering white standards.

For Manu, this was a very big thing in his life. Manu had achieved instant fame. Manu did not have to fight for this fame. He simply did what he thought was the right thing to do while on stage and he got it. To gain fame within one’s act, strategies and implementation are the key.

Up until his death, Manu kept that newspaper cutting at his house in Mbare.
Once one gets famous, they become a celebrity and have to make many sacrifices such as staying away from crowds for fear of being mobbed and not to make too many public appearances.

One gets divorced from the same adoring fans that have brought him fame. That is one disadvantage of becoming famous.
After opening up for Michael Jackson and later selling over a million singles of “Everybody’s Free”,  Rozalla Miller was told by her manager never to use the underground train in London  to travel, although it is faster, as this was a security risk. She had to travel by taxi only in the congested London traffic. That is another disadvantage of being famous.

At the moment, there are plenty of youngsters who are agonising on how they could become famous. Fame for fame’s sake is sometimes not worth it in a country like Zimbabwe.

They must ask themselves what it is they want to achieve first before they get famous. Will this fame bring success and fortune? If so, then go for it.

To be famous, guts and sacrifices are not enough. One needs a very strong wind to blow away the black clouds.

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