ENTERTAINMENT has always been one big lifestyle in any given city. People from different backgrounds throng entertainment joints as they seek to relax from the pressures of work and life. But in recent years, Gweru’s entertainment life has been on a low, especially as few local musicians descend on the city for live shows. This scenario has brought gloom to many revellers who enjoy going out for gigs.
By Stephen Chadenga
The City of Progress, as Gweru is otherwise known, is home to night clubs and bars, albeit few in number. It is the suitability of these venues for local artistes to stage live performances that have always been a thorny issue for the Midlands capital’s entertainment sector.
Places such as Toyo, Zaire, Takarangana, Tree-Top and Matende were popular joints when it came to entertainment, but over the years they have become pale shadows of their former self. At one time, Zaire regularly hosted sungura outfit Super Sounds, while Mitchell Jambo and Marunga Brothers were a resident band at Takarangana Night Club.
Reggae artiste, Joseph Nhara, also known as Man Soul Jah, was also a popular act at several joints in the city with live performances with his group People Against Cruel Existence (Pace). The group used to be the supporting act for Super Sounds and were both sponsored by Gweru City Council’s liquor department — Go Beer Breweries.
Educare Hall, situated along Mvuma Road, used to be home to popular local artistes such as sungura maestros, Alick Macheso, Nicholas “Madzibaba” Zacharia and the late Tongai “Dhewa” Moyo.
But after the closure of the hall to those who used to hire it for entertainment purposes, Gweru’s night life has never been the same again. The few places available are either too small to host big artistes or are sub-standard for such ventures.
The only place that has been hosting big artistes of late is the Midlands Hotel, but not regularly, leaving entertainment lovers thirsty for vibrant gigs.
Midlands Hotel managing director, Hamutendi Kombayi said they would do everything to make sure that musicians were brought to Gweru so that the city does not become a “sleepy town”.
“We will endeavour to make sure that we play our part as Midlands Hotel to bring artistes of repute to the City of Progress,” Kombayi told The Standard Style.
“Of course we face the challenge of resource constraints, but here and there we try our best as many artistes come to perform at our venue so that the label of Gweru as a sleepy town does not become a reality.”
On Friday Macheso locked horns with Progress Chipfumo at the hotel where they performed at the spacious car park section.
Other artistes who have staged shows at Midlands Hotel this year are Jah Prayzah and dancehall chanters who include Tocky Vibes and Killer T.
Such has become the entertainment scenario in the Midlands capital that many have wondered why such a city is failing to claim its fair share on the showbiz scene.
But not all hope is lost as some night clubs in high-density suburbs have once in a while managed to attract musicians to their joints.
Artistes such as Nicholas Zacharia, Ndolwane Super Sounds and Somandla Ndebele have made dates with Gweru fans at night spots in residential areas.
Nighspots such as Tim, Liquid Lounge, Down Town Oasis, Eclipse, Bowling and sports clubs endeavour to ignite the fire in Gweru. The places are, however, lively when students from the Midlands State University are in town and become quiet at the end of semesters.