Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Correspondent
IMAGINE when nightspots reopen as the Covid-19-induced lockdown restrictions are lifted, your favourite wheel spinner does not report to work.
Well, this is what is simmering under the surface as club DJs are not happy with the state of affairs between them and the nightspot owners.
For over 100 days, nightclubs have turned into white elephants as the lockdown saw the closure of places that create euphoria.
Such fun is arguably created by artistes known to many as club DJs and their job is to man the decks and churn out hit after hit from different genres.
Club DJs were between a rock and a hard place as a consistent source of income had turned to be a thing of the past as nightclubs had closed indefinitely.
Slowly but surely, Government is easing the lockdown measures and this has seen restaurants and hotels being allowed to open and they serve alcohol beverages accompanied by soulful music.
Many imbibers now want the real fun to make its maiden comeback and all eyes are on the club DJs as to what they will bring to the table.
Every reveller has their favourite club DJ who sets the mood of the place they frequent and gets the drinks flowing and party jumping with their selection of music.
Some club DJs from Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Hwange, Dete, Plumtree, Gwanda, Gweru and Zvishavane, threatened not to report to work when nightclubs reopen.
Bulawayo’s DJ Prince Eskhosini, who was resident at Bulawayo Athletic Club (BAC Leisure), said it is high time club DJs are valued for their contributions in nightclubs and they should be able to take their firm stand.
“I’m sure most clubs have seen that DJs can survive without clubs therefore it’s high time clubs put value on DJs and no DJ should feel like they are owned by any club.
“DJs should stop accepting sick money and work on having a reasonable charge as it’s disappointing what we saw when the lockdown started and I’m sure this was an eye opener to all of us. We need to be able to pay for a funeral policy, have savings as fame doesn’t put food on the table,” he said.
Gweru’s DJ cum MC, Jah Soshea who plays at Bowling and Pabloz among other nightclubs and is Midlands 98.4FM radio DJ said: “As club DJs, we are saying even if clubs open, we aren’t returning to work until the owners start appreciating us. The issue is that we are exploited where some perform only for beers and transport. That should be a thing of the past.”
“I am going to lead this protest and I hope other club DJs come on board and stand for what they deserve.”
Zvishavane-based DJ Flexx who played regularly at Caravan Park and is also YaFM radio DJ said the pandemic has opened the eyes of club DJs. They need to have contracts.
“I think it’ll be good if club owners can adjust the salaries for club DJs and work out new contracts.
“To tell the truth, most of these joints sell their beers using USD which now should translate to those artistes getting forex as cost of living in the past five months has gone beyond the reach of many,” said DJ Flexx.
DJ Mabae from Plumtree who used to play at Chicken King said: “I think when bars open, people are going to come out in their numbers therefore it is also our duty as DJs and artistes to make sure that we deliver to our fans. We should make sure that we do powerful gigs so that owner of the bars will be able to pay well.”
DJ Fatso from Victoria Falls, a deejay who played at Comfort Pub and Grill, Shoestrings and Zambezi House in the resort town, as well as Cricket Club in Hwange said the ball is in their court to come up with a win-win strategy for themselves, club owners and bar patrons.
If nightclubs are to be given the green light to operate, all eyes will be on the feud between the club DJs and club owners. — Follow on Twitter @mthabisi_mthire.