DEAR Nkululeko Nkala, I hope this letter finds you well despite your courtroom woes stemming from allegations of assault and sexual harassment.
It’s disheartening that an esteemed person in the arts industry has been caught on the wrong side of the law twice within a short period of time.
When we saw you ‘beefing’ with comedian Babongile Sikhonjwa last year we thought it was one of those publicity stunts to get the attention of Bulawayo and Zimbabwe while attempting to sell yourself as a serious musician. You managed to get people to wonder whether you two were serious about the ‘beef’ or you were just playing ‘fight’.
Soon after that, there were wedding photos that circulated on social media which later turned out to be part of a promotion for your music video for the song I do featuring up-and-coming singer Ashleigh. People lapped up both spoofs and they got to know about your art. Suddenly, you were ‘famous’ and maybe a little relevant!
People gave you ‘props’ for all the wrong reasons, rather than sit you down and advise against your misguided efforts to seek attention this way. I mean, you could easily have let your craft show off your talent and got it with your life without the resultant drama and ridicule you have subjected yourself to.
However, I’m concerned my brother; concerned that lately there is a lot of you in the media for the wrong reasons. Just last year, a prank you pulled on social media turned nasty and literally ‘burnt’ you, and almost landed you behind bars. In your ‘clever’ joke, you claimed to be in possession of ‘cheaper and counterfeit’ Kalawa Homecoming Show tickets ahead of the show.
A video of you pleading your case for this misdemeanour at the Bulawayo Police Station was circulated on social media and you still paid a fine for your troubles afterwards.
And now this! Allegations of assault and use of foul language at a show last week has resulted in your appearance in court this past Thursday. I understand you are out on $50 bail. Tragic!
I suggest that while you are out on bail pending your next court appearance on January 26, use that time wisely for self introspection. Think long and hard about these and other events that have engulfed your life this past week.
First you started off at the police station and you paid a fine, now you’ve actually gone one better and appeared in court! Hopefully the courts won’t be harsh on you and give you a custodial sentence should you be found guilty.
But to you I pose this question: can you see the trend? This has put a dent, a blemish and serious black mark on your career in the arts sector.
Many people look up to you for the passion you have for the arts and I think these energies should be directed to developing the arts. Not in and out of the police stations and courts: it casts a dark shadow on the local arts industry.
Now the wonderful launch of your debut album Amaphupho Amatsha (New Dream) in 2016 will quickly be erased from the memories of the hundreds who attended. There could be questions about your singing abilities, but that show was one of the best and well organised in the city.
Given that in one of our discussions you’ve indicated that there’s more at play here, my advice to you my brother is; don’t give whoever that person is any more reasons to have a go at you and put you in trouble.
You can play the blame game but at the end of the day you have to account for your actions.
Whatever the person does to you, it’s how you respond that counts.
We’ve had riveting discussions about how to make the arts sector in Zimbabwe in general and Bulawayo in particular better and some of your insights have been quite thoughtful. Your peers have often told me that last year you even sacrificed your own car when the stage, lighting and sound for the Intwasa Festival weren’t paid for and it was just two days before the show was due to kick-off.
Such is the person that I got to know and appreciate in the arts industry. Not the guy who has decided that his career doesn’t matter and he does whatever regardless of the consequences.
It’s a shame that I have had to write such a letter to you, not praising your achievements but cautioning you for the shenanigans that aren’t arts related. In other words concentrate on what you know best which is promoting the arts with a passion.
Yours in the arts