Vocal Ex’s Sithi Uyingcwele concert to bless Byo

IN WHAT MUST BE ONE of the biggest shows in Bulawayo this year, local gospel ensemble Vocal Ex will bless their fans at the Large City Hall on July 12.

The show will feature Eric Moyo, Joyous Celebration’s Mkhululi Bhebhe and S’phumelele Mbambo. The cover charge is $5 which I believe is fair considering the promise of the show.

Mkhululi Bhebhe a local singer has been all over the world touring as a soloist apart from his Joyous Celebration commitment. Still very humble, he affects the persona of one who continues to be on a learning curve though he has come far enough to even boast.

That is how it should be for gospel singers where the presumption is reasonable that when they sing they do it all for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and not for their ego trips.

But it must be a sure sign of the local gospel ensemble’s ambition to take on the Large City Hall as venue.

So Culture Beat was in H-Town this past week? The night life is just abuzz over there.

When we arrived, folk in my circle were chirping on about the Winter Jazz Festival, among many other gigs.

I took it upon myself to scour the scene to unearth opportunities I could share with local artistes and interested persons.

Film opportunities
The Zimbabwe International Film Festival (ZIFF) has called on filmmakers, fledgling and otherwise to submit their pieces ahead of the 16th edition of the festival slated for October this year.

“The festival will look to showcase film from all genrés and application forms can be downloaded from the ZIFF website, http://www.zifft.org/professionals/rules-and-regulations-ziff-2014 and submitted through the same platform and the deadline is July 31 2014” ZIFF founding trustee Nigel Munyati said.

The ZIFF spokesman further intimated that the awards will be given to winning In Competition films in the following best feature and best screen play categories.

Music opportunities
Every Monday at the Book Café along Samora Machel Avenue and Seventh Street in Harare, the joint conducts Open Mic night. The platform is one for aspiring musicians from any part of the country to showcase their singing talents before both diehard fans and peers.

From between 6pm to 9pm interested local musicians can contact a Hector on 0772 529 205 to register prior to staging. This past Monday there were about 20 acts taking turns to perform.

I even witnessed a blues band doing their set in Shona! Sadly, I had to leave because the nicotine fumes at the venue chased me and the queen away.

The same kind of thing every Tuesday same time happens at a place called Misty’s at Newlands shopping centre along Enterprise Road.

Why is this information important? Well, Bulawayo needs similar platforms to nurture and cull artists who dream of fame and possible fortune.

Secondly, the likes of Jah Prayzah came through the ranks via Book Café. That is how you grow as an artiste: You start small; far from the madding crowd till you hit the sweet spot and big time.

Dreams to Fame: Amakhosi Township Square
Cont Mhlanga used to have a similar event at Amakhosi back in the day called Dreams to Fame that served as a vital link in the showbiz conveyor belt locally. Despite his critics, there is one thing you can’t take from the man. He has been a catalyst for the growth of our showbiz.

But Mhlanga is one man. Umkhulu loMsebenzi. Of-course there are others I could mention who do their part but our artists need to have a more selfless vision of our arts sector.

It would be simplistic to suggest that the “proliferation of stages” in Harare is down to the entrepreneurial spirit of that city’s dwellers. But the reality seems to be indicating otherwise.

Businesses operating locally, but with headquarters in Harare are notorious for referring everything to the capital.

So now I am thinking: Why patronise them if they are not community-involved? If they will not fund or support cultural activities it surely means that they couldn’t care less about the people.

I think it’s time to say to them we are also “waiting for a decision” from Harare before we spend our hard-earned dollars to patronise their businesses or buy from them. Maybe then we will get attention.

African Fashion Week in Canada
Zimbabwean designers who have been selected to showcase at this year’s African Fashion Week Toronto in Canada.

The three — Shadow by Sidumiso, BlinQ and Rebellious Klothing — are still raising funds. Members of the public are being encouraged to support the designers’ trip by donating at least one dollar on an EcoCash number in an initiative supported by Hunnar Management Agency, and fashionista Mbo Mahocs.

I met the leader of the agency Gilmore Moyo, who expressed his relief at being finally given a letter of support by the city fathers after being given a run around.

The tenacious Gilmore got his way for the three designers. Members of the public who care enough are kindly invited to donate via the EcoCash number 0774 000 961 for the three fashionistas to pay their way to Canada.

Fundraising show in Harare.
At five dollars per person at the Rainbow Cinema in Harare on the July 9, self-styled Afro-soul artiste Tariro ne Gitare will stage a show to help raise funds for the 120Fashionfund which has been set up to punt for money for the three local designers.

It matters not to the artistic community that the designers are not from Harare.

That is how things should be viewed ultimately. Culture Beat is rooting for these youngsters to receive all the help they can get to live their dreams.

Parting shot: cultural thing
News reports yesterday were laced with a warning from an Indian government official that women in that country should not wear bikinis at the beach! Apparently, rape is endemic in India.

It is rather ironic that for a country so religious, freaks still roam wild and free.

It seems to me that official warnings to women folk has a sub text: Rape is inspired by the nudity of women!

How about the rape of babies and toddlers?

I would say those official comments carry unwitting or witting mischief and error.

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