HomeStandard People2016 arts year: highs and lows

2016 arts year: highs and lows

IT has been a good year for some in the country’s entertainment circles, but quite a turbulent one for others — in short, it has been a year of highs and lows.


Norleen Sifelani (left) and Beverly Sibanda
Norleen Sifelani (left) and Beverly Sibanda

The year started well in the southern region of the country with artistes mushrooming everywhere, trying to create fame and make some money; but very few completed the race.

Bulawayo’s entertainment scene was not dominated by South African acts this year, unlike in previous years where there has been a cocktail of South African acts including Sophie Ndaba, Heavy K, Black Coffee, DJ Lady Cream, Mpumi, DJ Cndo , Fiesta Black, Big Nuz, Casper Nyovest, AKA, Durban NYTS and Patricia Majalisa — all of them descending on this part of the country last year alone.

This time only Busiswa, Zinhle, Natty, Dj Sbue, Micasa, Lindelani Mkhize, Madlela, Amabhukudwane, Zinjaziyamluma, Professor and Oskido came to the city  and left an indelible mark.

Local stars Jah Prayzah, Takesure Zama Ncube, Charles Charamba, Killer T, Judgment Yard and Winky D also brought their acts to the City of Kings.

However, the arts industry started on a low note as it grappled with the usual hardships that afflicted all sectors of the economy and the general working class in January.

Strip-tease became the rage in Bulawayo where revellers filled night spots every time there was a show, with promoters cashing in on the craze exported from Harare following the exploits of Beverly “Bev” Sibanda and Norleen “Zoey” Sifelani.

Bulawayo’s dazzling all-female ensemble, Nobuntu, toured North America and reportedly made it big there. The multi-talented five-member outfit also got a chance to perform in Swaziland.

Apart from music, there was also a lot for clubbers as we saw clubs opening in almost every corner of the city. Clubs like Connect, Private Longue, Club 263 and Copper Cabana opened and are doing big, while Cloud Nine, Club Forty 40 on the other hand failed to make it, resulting in closure.

Bulawayo-based jazz maestro Majahawodwa Ndlovu proved that a prophet can indeed be honoured and celebrated in his own backyard.

Popularly known as Jeys Marabini, the Nama award-winner released his eighth studio album titled, Thula Sana which has set tongues wagging. The 12-track album was launched at the Bulawayo Theatre.

April was a black month for the music industry which lost one of its icons, LMG founder — Give Nare. Nare died from a heart attack at the age of 79. He was the founder of the revolutionary music group Light Machine Gun.

The Intwasa Festival koBulawayo held its 12th edition, which was a success. The festival saw prominent author Christopher Mlalazi partnering with Umkhathi Theatre for the re-launch of the play Soil Of The Son, which has been renamed Warrior.     

The Shangano Arts Festival this time could not make it due to financial constraints. the festival features exhibitions of various traditional foods made from grains such as sorghum and millet and also incorporates games.

Zimbabwean playwright who is based in South Africa, Mothusi Bashimane Ndlovu released his latest comedy Madlela 3 for which he scooped an award in South Africa for Zimbabwe Achievers Award.

Meanwhile, one of the disc jockeys from Kwekwe, Dj Rollings who has been away in South Africa is back and is finalising his deal with Safari FM in Mtwarra in Tanzania next year.

Lindelani Mkhize of Joyous Celebration visited the city during the Clash of Hub Choirs which was organised by Harvest House International.

Bulawayo female Kwaito artist, Proficience Cadder aka Kadder revealed all about her Khoi Khoi romance promising wedding bells in 2017. We look forward to it.

We also witnessed a social media fight between popular Bulawayo dance group, Inkululeko Yabatsha School of Arts (Iyasa) and a newly-formed project based in Gwanda, named Isiphiwo Sami School of Arts (Isasa) over the latter’s name, design and logo.

The fight started when the founder of Iyasa, Nkululeko Dube saw posters of Isasa which had a logo, pictures and design similar to Iyasa’s circulating on social media. Iyasa for the past seven years has been running a project called Isiphiwo Sami Talent Search, which is funded by Culture Fund and the programme engages schools in Matabeleland.

Iyasa founder, Nkululeko Dube got nominated for the Stella16 awards in Austria and he managed to bring the award home.

This year has been a great year for the Gwanda poet, Lerato Nqindi Ndlovu who managed to produce his debut CD which also has a house track.

The late Bulawayo artiste and founding member of the 1980s band Sunduza Boys, which is now known as Sunduza Dance Theatre — Simon Mahlaba Banda — was remembered on December 10 at the Pumula Open Air.

Banda was a great arts mentor, founder, producer, singer and performer and an icon in Zimbabwe. He sang the score of songs in the movie Power of One that was shot in Bulawayo featuring heavyweight Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman.

2016 also saw Bulawayo hosting the Ibumba International Festival, which featured several music genres in one of the most well-co-ordinated events held in the city.

The festival featured music, dance, film, literature, art, poetry and theatre performances at venues dotted around Bulawayo, although the main venue was Stanley Square in Makokoba.

The festival had, as its guest against Blackmotion, an SA act which brought fireworks to the city.

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