The hottest topic in Bulawayo a few weeks ago has been the Kalawa homecoming party — arguably the biggest end-of-year party in the country.
By Sindiso Dube
The gig, hosted by South Africa-based multi award-winning artist-cum producer Oskido, born Oscar Mdlongwa, was set to match any international standards and it was a learning curve for local artistes and music promoters.
Oskido has done a lot over the years in giving back to the people of Zimbabwe through his shows. However, others have accused him of looting money through his Kalawa homecoming gigs and going back with it to South Africa, especially with recent changes in foreign currency exchange rates which has seen the United States dollar dominating the South African rand. The cheapest ticket at the December 27 mega show at Bulawayo’s Queens Sports Club went for $20.
The annual show, which saw its fifth edition last week, incorporating more local artistes than before, not only as curtain raisers but also sharing the stage with renowned Mzansi artistes.
Cal-vin, Defined House, Khuxxma, DJ Liz, Sbango, DJ Scooby, Asaph, Kwabatsha, Anti-Virus, Skaiva and Mzoe 7 among others made the list of local acts that mesmerised the crowd.
Multi award-winning rapper Cal-Vin had his golden opportunity after Cassper Nyovest nailed his set and called the Zimbabwean. They performed Cal-Vin’s Zikhuphani remix that features Nyovest. After Cal-vin’s act came in Asaph who belted out his latest track Sndr.
“I applaud Oskido for including on local artists because by ourselves we can’t pull that kind of a crowd, performing before such an audience is an honour and helps us grow our brands,” Cal-vin said.
Defined House exhibited their art after South Africa’s finest DJ Fresh in a move that gave locals a fair platform with the international performers.
Vusumuzi Siqabalala of XMO Squad, the show promoters, said the annual show had come in handy for locals.
“The show is not about Kalawa Jazmee only, but is also meant to benefit the locals as in the artists and also the business side,” he said.
“Local acts were treated the same way as South African artistes, locals were not relegated to curtain raisers as before, Cassper Nyovest even introduced Cal-vin on the stage,” said Siqabalala.
Siqabalala added that the show brought business to Bulawayo rather than the notion that it milked locals off their hard-earned money.
“The show actually brought business to Bulawayo, everything was locally provided except the guest artists [South Africans]. Equipment, sound, lighting, bar, catering and VIP hosting was locally provided, the show created employment,” he added.
Local promoter Babongile Skhonjwa echoed the same sentiments.
“Bulawayo business benefitted on the night. Security was provided locally and also things to do with the decoration as well as Rainbow Hotel where the artists were booked in,” he said.
“There was more representation of local acts this year. I am glad they did not disappoint and we want more next year.”
Quizzed why Oskido has not recruited a lot of Zimbabwean artists as many would have expected, Skhonjwa said: “Kalawa Jazmee is a big brand and it is a personal and business decision to take any artist on board. Look at how many very good artists in South Africa are trying to get into [Kalawa] but are failing, it is not like Oskido should put up a Zimbabwean artist because he is from Bulawayo.”
“One has to be exceptional to catch Kalawa Jazmee’s eye. Apple Seed of Bongo Maffin was exceptional when Oskido took him aboard, as well as Otis Fraser and there is no doubt these are good performers,” he added.
On Wednesday, Oskido’s father Esaph Mdlongwa and Th X-Mo Squad, under the Kalawa home coming party, donated food among other basics to Entembeni Old People’s Home in Luveve.
At the gig, rival rappers AKA and Cassper Nyovest did not disappoint as they put up top-drawer performances, leaving fans asking for more.
Kalawa Jazmee Records is a reputable independent record label based in South Africa which has contributed to the development of Kwaito.
Professor, Character and DJ Pepsi, among other South African artists are under the label.
Oskido was born in the Oukasie Township (near Brits, South Africa) in 1967 and was educated in Bulawayo before returning to South Africa in 1987.
He started off selling boerewors and sausage rolls outside the Razzmatazz nightclub in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, in South Africa in the 1990s.
Oskido would sneak into the club to spin the closing sessions and slowing down American house tracks to a tempo that “Africans could dance to”. One night, the resident DJ didn’t pitch up and the rest is history.
Later teaming up with fellow producers Don Laka and Christos, they founded Kalawa Records and released their eponymous self-entitled BOP (Brothers of Peace) compilation in 1993.
Establishing a network of DJs, musicians, producers and other hopefuls, the label turned into Kalawa Jazmee in 1995 after Christos’ departure.
Oskido has since gone on to produce numerous artistes such as Bongo Maffin, Boom Shaka and Mafikizolo.