Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
SUNGURA Masters, a popular dance crew from Bulawayo says the economic situation in the country is making it difficult for artistes to earn a living from their works.
Led by Nesbert Masotsha Nzou, the eight-member group is celebrating a decade in the performing arts industry this week.
Reflecting on the journey, Masotsha said it has been a tough 10 years performing under the country’s economic environment, which has seen fewer people spending on leisure.
“We’re celebrating the 10 years that we’ve been in the industry. It’s been tough, but we managed to pull through and thank God we’re still together with the members I started with.
“Despite economic hardships, our unity of purpose has kept us together,” said Masotsha.
He said because of the economic situation, the dance crew is now forced to work almost every day to try and earn a living, yet it is common that musicians and dance groups perform just once or twice a week as most of the days are spent perfecting their craft.
However, he paid homage to the likes of Martin Sibanda and Ndolwane Super Sounds, Madlela Skhobokhobo and Allen Ndoda who have been paying them well when they call on their services and ensuring the group stays alive.
The dance crew which has members Masotsha, Dumisani “Dumara” Ndlovu, Chelesani Ndlovu, Lizwilenkosi Nyoni, Thandeka Mabhena, Isabel Sibanda, Sinikiwe Ncube and Richard Shillings has performed at most shows that have a Sungura vibe. They have also shared the stage with the likes of Jah Prayzah, Winky D and Alick Macheso and in most occasions, they have captivated the crowd with their dance moves.
The reason why they are always on top of their game, Masotsha said, is that they practise every Tuesday through to Thursday at Vulindlela Club in Mpopoma.
He said the crew was born out of the love of dancing to Sungura music, a genre he adored from a tender age. Masotsha said this prompted him to join Ndolwane Super Sounds.
“I loved dancing to Sungura since I was young and to be honest, I loved Alick Macheso. I then joined Ndolwane Super Sounds and worked with them for seven years but unfortunately, the group split and this is when I saw an opportunity to form and create something that wasn’t in Bulawayo. I named it Sungura Masters because we dance Sungura only and the signature dance Borrowdale,” said Masotsha.
Working with eight members, there is bound to be clashes between characters but Masotsha said any conflicts are solved amicably.
“We’ve a committee so we sit down and settle our matters. We’ve never had an issue that we failed to resolve. Some of the matters arise when the female members fall in love with members as well as payments coming in late. Some people clash during rehearsals while sometimes members miss shows,” said Masotsha.
One of the highlights of their career, Masotsha said was in 2012 when they shared the stage with Macheso’s band at Jabula Inn in Esigodini. This is where they showed their dancing prowess with many in the crowd saying they gave Baba Shero’s dancers a run for their money.
Next month, Sungura Masters will celebrate their 10-year anniversary at Entumbane Hall. The celebration on September 14 will feature Iyasa, Mzoe 7 and DJ Sweeto.