Do not beat your own drums


I HAVE an amazing passion for new talent and its development.

By Nkululeko Dube

This week, however, I just could not ignore nor come to terms with young poet Bridget Sibanda, who came all out saying she was the next best thing in Zimbabwean poetry and that she was “better than Albert Nyathi and could outclass the celebrated dub poet at any stage!”
I know the young woman is still too young to be subjected to direct criticism, so I will put this as a word of advice to her and other young artistes hoping to make it in this industry.

To start with, Nyathi is your elder and deserves a lot of respect from you. Furthermore, if you come into this industry to be better than so and so, then you are doomed to fail.
I will not bother comparing Nyathi to the young poet, but I think it was out of order and lack of respect for her to speak in that manner.
On the contrary, she can learn a lot from Nyathi. Artistes ought to respect each other.

Let your work speak for you and let your fans rate you. Do not beat your own drum and dance to its tune. No offence! It’s always the bitterest pills to swallow that makes a difference.

 What is it with money? What does it do to us? What does it do especially to artistes and celebrities?

We work and toil for years to lay our hands on the elusive piece of paper, but as soon as we do, we somehow lose focus and throw it away as quickly as we got it!

 Surely can anybody explain to me how former Big Brother Africa winner Wendall Parson ended up facing charges of fraud involving more than $20 000 in a car insurance scandal?

I had an interesting conversation most recently in Vienna with one international arts promoter as I poured out my heart to him about how good talented people from my country were, but still died poor.
He was not sorry. He said to me it could be a blessing in disguise that we remain where we are or just slightly better.

He compared the Zimbabwean artistes to the South African ones and the American artistes at a bigger scale and said to me because of the lack of the dollar, Zimbabwean arts and music remained one of the most “clean” ones in Africa.

He said Nigeria, South Africa and America now faced worse devils, scandals, sharks — and the worst being drug abuse!

This is really a full topic for another day, but in summary we must celebrate that our artistes are not dogged by drug abuse and record company sharks as compared to other successful countries.

There are fringe benefits for being an artiste. VW in South Africa got all Freshlyground band members driving their brand.

In Zimbabwe Alick Macheso received a new Range Rover SUV courtesy of Premier Auto, a leading car dealer of Range Rover and Land Rover brands.

The living legend Oliver Mutukudzi was also honoured in a similar motorcar deal. This is what we need for our artistes— branding.
I challenge corporates out there to follow suit and do the same for other artistes who have put the country on the map like Jeys Marabini, Black Umfolosi, Nyathi and many more! It can be done!

There is election buzz in the country and the fever is catching up with the arts too.

This is the most volatile time for the country’s entertainers. Gigs are scrutinised and sometimes cancelled.

Promoters are sceptical about holding shows while on the other hand, every politician wants us to write a song or recite a poem about them.

I have already heard several interesting songs posted on social sites and sung at rallies and gatherings. Is it not interesting how politicians value our creativity?

We also request that when they finally make it to the august houses they must not forget these songs we sang and these poems we created. They must keep their promises and must also allow us to continue to create and comment on their progress out there.

I wonder how many of them even have a sentence or paragraph in their manifesto about what they intend to do for the artistes? The likes of Ezra Tshisa Sibanda and Eric Knight are in the running too.

Should we be excited dear brothers? You have worked with artistes your entire life and you know our struggles and our ambitions. Please do not forget about us when you make it to the land of Canaan. We will be watching!

 What’s happening? Jeys Marabini will launch his album in Austria! I have sampled it already and I can only say it’s fantastic and laced with international taste and class.

Betty Makaya is back, we wish her all the best. If you have not heard or seen the collaboration of Oliver Mutukudzi and Shabalala Rhythm in the song Siyana Naye yet, I suggest you do.

 The Plan High Schools drama competition is on. Raisedon Baya says the preliminary rounds to choose schools for the finals have been held. 30 schools have taken part and we need to congratulate educators for supporting young talent.

This is a healthy sign for the future. We also congratulate Umkhathi Theatre Works, Kwabatsha Dance Company and Ingwenyama, in that order, for winning at the Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival. Umkhathi will now join nine other provincial winners in Harare to battle it out in the national finals! May the best win!

 Follow me on twitter @NkueInnoeDube or email