While we mourn our music stars, we also take time to remember and cherish their contributions to the growth of the industry.
I admired Moyo and Mafika for their enterprising characters. Unlike other musicians that are always holding begging bowls and parading their misfortunes in search of donations and sympathy, Moyo and Mafika were among a few that believed in themselves.
They knew that they had to work hard to put food on the table and develop their careers. We have a few surviving artists that believe in themselves.
Our arts industry is awash with cry babies that are always blaming the corporate world for not supporting the arts. It is true that the private sector and government are not doing enough to promote arts but the issue is sometimes blown out of proportion.
Every time artists are interviewed they always say they are failing to do one thing or another because of lack of sponsorship. Why should the missing factor be sponsorship in all cases?
I asked one artist: “What have you done to attract sponsorship?” The answer was: “I have composed so many songs that can be recorded anytime.” Is that good enough?
Sometimes artists do not realise the importance of being proactive. When you hear a well-known and respected artist (we assume he has made considerable fortune) fuming about this or that sponsor’s failure to fund his project, it is extremely pathetic. Does he not know something called self-sustenance?
Emerging musicians might be (to some level) pardoned because most of them would not be having any base on which to build their careers.
Mafika managed to go for various tours and studies abroad through his music because he had a way of engaging fellow musicians outside the country. Instead of pleading with his connections abroad to send him money to do his projects, he offered to go and teach them mbira and they saw value in engaging him.
Even back home, he approached various schools and spearheaded a music project for pupils from various schools. He used his talent to improve his career and earn a living.
When Moyo fell ill, a number of promoters and fellow musicians sympathised with him but the musician refused to be a cry baby who would enjoy being pitied.
He clearly told people not to symphathise with him and declared that he was not a charity case. It was only after his death that most people in the industry got to know that the musician was forking out about US$3 000 for every chemotherapy session.
Although well-wishers chipped in to assist financially just before his death, Moyo had vowed to go it alone and always went against doctors’ instructions to go ahead with shows instead of resting.
Such was his belief in being his own man. Numerous misfortunes befell the musician but he would always fight back. He never publicly sent an SOS.
Artists should just appreciate the current state of their industry economically and fight to achieve goals with minimum assistance —the industry will not be the same.
It is even worse when we learn that some artists have been fortunate enough to get sponsorship yet they go on to abuse the funds and go back on their knees to beg. I know a number of artists that received grants from the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust but failed to achieve much because of misuse and mismanagement.