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Musicians Shun Gweru Gigs
Brenna Matendere Munyati

Musicians shun Gweru in festive gigs

High-flying musicians shunned the provincial capital in festive season gigs amid revelations that music promoters feared redundancies and closures would keep revelers away.

In the build-up to the end of last year, many major employers in the town either closed or scaled back their operations. Bata, the country’s only shoe manufacturing company – at one time the biggest employer in Gweru – sent the few remaining workers on forced leave in November.

Zimglass scaled down and, by December, had gone five months without paying workers. Zimcast, Tyre Treads and many other companies had, by the beginning of the festive season, shut down completely. By December, the city council had gone for two months without paying workers.

The developments meant few revellers had money to spend in the city during the festive season, so music promoters lined up gigs elsewhere.

In towns such as Kwekwe and Shurugwi, dancehall star Shinsoman, Sungura giants Alick Macheso, Peter ‘Dhewa’ Moyo, Nicholas ‘Madzibaba’ Zacharia, gospel diva Blessing Shumba and reggae musician Tawanda ‘Bantyuman I’ Jumo took turns to keep people dancing.

“Lately Gweru has seen very few fans attending shows. We had to be economic and so it was better and wiser to hold back gigs in Gweru during the festive season,” said Tafadzwa Maridadi, a music promoter.

Bantuman I added: “We only pray that the situation improves.”

In November, a show at a local hotel involving Sulumani Chimbetu and urban grooves crew Mafrique flopped as so few people showed up. Another show featuring Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mutukudzi in the same month at Liquid Lounge also failed

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