Mbulelo Mpofu, Showbiz Reporter
THE National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) on Tuesday partnered with the Zimbabwe Musicians Union (ZiMU) to facilitate a meeting in Bulawayo to discuss the welfare of musicians and the need for standardisation in the business among other issues.
The meeting, presided over by ZiMu’s chairperson Edith WeUtonga (born Edith Katiji), saw stakeholders in the music sector converge at the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo to map the way forward for a sector in need of a revival.
The Zimbabwe Musicians Union was founded in 2014 in Harare to cater for the interests of those involved in the music industry such as vocalists, instrumentalists and promoters.
In attendance were musicians, promoters, and managers. These included Asaph, DJ Prince Eskhosini, Jeys Marabini, Novuyo Seagirl, Bhila, Ramadu, Charles Banda, Mawiza, Absoll Luz, Ramsey Kasawaya and Rockie DoUb among others.
Addressing the audience, Edith WeUtonga emphasised the importance of locals getting involved to ensure that music is recognised as a profession rather than a hobby.
“Musicians are workers and as such, they need to treat their profession likewise. In as much as we have general problems in the sector, artistes from Bulawayo know what they face and what hinders their progress. For the sector to retain its relevance, we should find solutions to our problems as we are the ones who know best. We are our own solutions,” she said.
Some of the topics discussed included artistes’ social security, standardising of their treatment, rates when performing, music submission to radio and television stations as well as their royalties when their music gets played on air.
ZiMU has partnered with the Musicians’ Union of Finland — Muusikkojenliitto and WeUtonga attested to the need of borrowing a leaf from their book as artistes’ welfare is of utmost importance in first-world countries.
Due to lack of artiste representation, rampant exploitation and daylight robbery have reared their ugly heads, with artistes and bands being exploited, with some being compensated with a plate of food and booze, and sometimes performing for free.
A steering committee was formed at the meeting in order to work closely with ZiMU in identifying and solving problems faced by artistes.
ZiMU’s goal is to help musicians with access to legal and contract advice, welfare support, psycho-social support, recommendation, and reference letters, access to free duty on instruments as well as free workshops. — @MbuleloMpofu