Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
RHUMBA musician Madlela Sikhobokhobo says most artistes from Bulawayo are afraid to perform in the city because of the poor reception they receive.
Madlela (real name Bashimane Mothusi Ndlovu) has been performing outside Bulawayo almost every weekend where he is being warmly received.
Last week, he was in Filabusi where he attracted a full house.
“For the better part of last year, I was performing outside Bulawayo. There was no time I was in Bulawayo because as artistes, we’re afraid of performing here.
“It’s the same problem that Lovemore Majaivana bemoaned. ‘Why aren’t the people from the city appreciating me?’ It’s the same thing we’re facing now,” highlighted a concerned Madlela.
He said even if they decide to do a show, people look at the negatives more than the positives as what happened after Cal_Vin’s flopped Acoustic show at the Bulawayo Theatre earlier this month.
“Cal_Vin took a bold step in hosting his acoustic concert but I tell you, people looked at the negatives than the positives. People failed to see that Cal_Vin was bold as he hosted an event with his own money.”
He said people needed to understand that Cal_Vin cannot be a jack of all trades.
“Remember, there was no promoter so Cal_ Vin became everything – a promoter, producer, manager and stage manager. This was because there was no one supporting him. Big up to Cal_Vin, he should do more and shouldn’t be discouraged to do shows because people didn’t come.”
While making it clear that he was not trying to get sympathy from fans in Bulawayo, Madlela said there is a lot of great music and art being churned out in the city.
“I’m not saying people from the city should support us just for the sake of doing so, but I want people to support the shows because the music is good. If someone’s product is rubbish, its rubbish. I refuse to believe that all shows being held in Bulawayo by the city’s artistes should be flops,” he said.
Madlela said one day, he will be brave enough to hold a show in Bulawayo.
“I’ll gather the courage and organise a show for Bulawayo. There’re some people who’re interested in me doing one here very soon but I’ll do my own although I’ve got my own anxieties.
“What’s encouraging though is that people who I meet on the street say if I hold a show, they’ll attend in their numbers,” he said.
However, Madlela said the reception outside the city has been overwhelming.
“Wherever I go, be it in Filabusi, Nkayi and Victoria Falls, the reception is amazing and most of the time, it’s a full house. We can be at a venue and some people fail to gain entry because they don’t have a source of income. Some wait outside until the early hours of the morning and I often ask for the gates to be opened,” he said.
Turning to his musical career, Madlela said he is working on something with Themba “Boyoyo” Mathe, the Mokis Connection former lead singer.
“There’re two singles that I’ll release at the beginning of April. I was also in studio with Boyoyo and he has a lot to say,” he said.
Other than that, the Ngamnanka uSamaMo hit-maker plans to perform in South Africa for the first time ever since he relocated to Bulawayo some three years back, to reconnect with fans there.
“People in South Africa are the ones who made Madlela. They supported me when I started and I’d like to thank them with a performance at the Hillbrow Theatre next month,” said Madlela.
He will be supported at the SA show by Dubia Masters and Mehlokazulu.