Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
SOUTH African artistes are professional, have an impeccable work ethic and give fans real value for money, something that local artistes should take a leaf from if they are to make a mark in the music industry.
These were observations made by MC/radio personality Babongile Sikhonjwa after interacting with SA’s Uhuru and Winnie Khumalo who performed at the Youth Interface Rally at White City Stadium and at Club Connect in Bulawayo last weekend.
Sikhonjwa was part of the local organising committee who helped bring in the South Africans to the city for the highly successful rally.
He said the key things he learnt were that the South African artistes have sound management, communicate well, have a good work ethic, are humble and are performers.
“For the South Africans, artiste management and communication is key. Their management is involved to an extent that they’re very particular with their artiste’s itinerary as well as show promoter’s expectations, something we lack here.
“When Uhuru and Winnie arrived in Bulawayo, they asked me which of their songs were popular here as they wanted to acquaint themselves with the local market. Their management also requested for a meeting where they wanted to know what we (show organisers) were expecting from them and in turn, they shared their expectations. All this was done to ensure that we got value for money from their performances as they didn’t want to short change us.”
Other than that, he said he found it humbling that the artistes were keen to communicate with the promoter, even availing themselves for future shows.
“These guys know that the promoter is king unlike our locals who think they’re bigger than the promoter. So many times we’ve hosted shows here and the local artistes are always arrogant making it difficult for a promoter to want to work with them again.”
Sikhonjwa said he wished local artistes would humble themselves and take time to interact with established artistes in order to better the industry.
“One thing that was disappointing was that no local artistes seemed keen to meet Uhuru and Winnie. I was sitting with them (at Red Cafe and Club Connect) and I pleaded with one group of local artistes to come and sit with them but they seemed uninterested,” said Sikhonjwa.
“I believe that had this group of artistes conversed with Uhuru, the conversation could have led to a collaboration but unfortunately, they didn’t see it that way.”
The Skyz Metro FM presenter said the South African artistes’ performance on stage was second to none as he discovered that Winnie Khumalo, although energetic on stage, was nursing stitches from an operation she underwent recently.
He said it was disappointing that some local artistes are the same whether they are on or off the stage.
“Uhuru members and Winnie are shy off stage when you’re talking to them, but when you give them the mic, they set their feet on stage and turn into beasts. However, with most our local artistes, the person who we meet on the streets and the one whom we drink with in the bar is the same on stage,” said Sikhonjwa.
“I’d love to see our artistes give us acts. Even Jah Prayzah, we can laugh at him with his military fatigue, but at least it’s an act. All the Leonard Dembos, Machesos and the like with their shiny colourful outfits gave us an act. When Macheso is off stage, he’s a shy guy, but put him on stage . . .”
As a solution, Sikhonjwa said they would organise a serious workshop to help artistes perfect their art on stage.
“I was talking to Vusa Mkhaya and Jeys Marabini telling them that we need a workshop to give fellow artistes a head start. We’ll sit down with them and listen to their music so as to come up with acts for them.
“Vusa Mkhaya and the like will help them musically while Saimon Mambazo can assist with choreography. I can furnish them with notes of what’s expected on radio so that we improve our artistes’ music and performances.”