Ziyakhala Music Festival faces uncertainty as Soul Brothers pull out Moses Ngwenya

Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Writer

The fate of the Ziyakhala Music Festival hangs in the balance after South African legendary group Soul Brothers announced their withdrawal from the event, accusing the promoters of deception and fraud. 

A statement released by the leader of the Imbaqanga kings, Moses Ngwenya on Monday evening, read: “It is with great regret to inform our loyal Soul Brothers fans that we will not be performing at any shows in Zimbabwe this December as announced. This is due to these deceptive promoters known as ‘Imithente Projects’ not meeting any of the requirements set by the Soul Brothers band although they had ample time to do so.

“These individuals promised the loyal fans of the Soul Brothers a show despite both the Soul Brothers and Imithente Projects not reaching a full agreement. It is apparent that they did this to scam the fans into purchasing tickets early while no agreement had been met.” 

Following this statement, the gigs, set to kick off on Friday at the White City Stadium in Bulawayo and conclude on Saturday at Pelandaba Stadium in Gwanda, now face uncertainty as some artistes from Gwanda and one of the event’s MCs, have expressed reluctance to participate. Those who intend to attend the events are also at a crossroads.

However, despite this setback, event organisers have declared their intention to proceed with the double shows.

Mthente Projects director Mandla Dube expressed shock at Soul Brothers’ decision, asserting that they were on course to finalise the deal (booking) until the bombshell was dropped on Monday. 

Dube disclosed that Soul Brothers had initially demanded a payment of R83 000 (approx. US$4 500) per show. He said a deposit of R20 000 (approx. $1 000) had been paid, copies of payments which Chronicle Showbiz has. He accused Soul Brothers leader, Moses Ngwenya of being “rude and a bully” during negotiations. 

“Based on the statement that was issued by Moses Ngwenya from Soul Brothers, we would like to notify the public that those claims are false. We are not fraudulent as we had made some payment to the band, but unfortunately, we didn’t satisfy them. We acknowledge that we had not made the full payment, but we were in the process of sorting out the outstanding fees before they travel to Zimbabwe from South Africa,” said Dube. Despite the fallout, Dube affirmed that the shows would proceed as planned.

 

Apologising to Soul Brothers fans for the mishap, Dube urged them to attend the event to celebrate and appreciate local talent, stating that the event was not solely centered on Soul Brothers. Local artistes who are billed to perform include Insimbi ZeZhwane, Madlela Skhobokhobo, Zinjaziyaluma, La Dee, and Mpilo Ndlovu who confirmed their participation, reinforcing the commitment to showcase Zimbabwean talent. They are set to be joined by acclaimed gospel group, Shongwe and Khuphuka Saved Group from Eswatini. 

Commenting on the purported R20 000 part payment, Ngwenya said it was insufficient.  “He (Dube) paid the R20 000. That’s not even a deposit for the Soul Brothers as it’s less. He’s been promising to pay the outstanding fees from November because I told him that we won’t leave South Africa without the full payment. This one is a chancer, he really doesn’t know what he’s doing,” said Ngwenya. 

“This guy is a scammer, he must be stopped! He mustn’t be allowed to promote at all. We’ve been coming to Zimbabwe for years and we never witnessed this. We are apologising to our fans in Zimbabwe as we know they were looking forward to this show since we put up a great show last December,” Ngwenya added.

Contacted for comment, Elias Shongwe, Shongwe and Khuphuka Saved Group director said: “According to the promoters, we’re supposed to arrive in Zimbabwe on Wednesday, but as of now (yesterday afternoon), we don’t have the actual time (arrival), but if all goes well, I’ll be in Zimbabwe by Thursday.”

As the controversy unfolds, local artistes and promoters are striving to salvage the festival, ensuring that it remains a platform to celebrate and support Zimbabwean talent. — @mthabisi_mthire.

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