The Zimbabwe Dancers Association (ZDA) has been hit hard by Covid-19 with no jobs on offer to help members sustain their families.
By Michael Kariati
president of the association, Hapaguti Mapimhidze, who is also manager of popular dancer Beverly Sibanda, said times have never been so hard in their lives.
“Things are tough. We were used to shows in night clubs, weddings, and parties, but these have gone with the Covid-19 restrictions. We are struggling to sustain our families,” said Hapaguti.
ZDA is a grouping of dancers, who survive on dancing mostly in drinking places and at weddings and parties.
This grouping also includes popular dancers like Beverly Sibanda, Thandi Moyo, Noeleen Sifelani, popularly known as Zoey, as well as Precious Makwame, better known as Wasu Davoda. Controversial businessman and politician Paddington Japajapa is a former president of the association.
Some of the dancers back up popular musicians like Jah Prayzah, Kireni Zulu, Alan and Sulumani Chimbetu, Leonard Zhakata and Alick Macheso, among others.
Makwame said things were on the downside as she had been sitting at home for some time, adding that nobody had even come up to support them as artistes.
“There are no jobs and we have been sitting at home for some time. We are facing hard times and nobody has come to help us like what is happening with the sporting world,” said Makwame.
Zoey on her part said she had learnt to live with the situation, which is there. She is rehearsing regularly to prepare herself for the time when things get back to normal.
“There is nothing we can do, but to live with what is there. These are things we cannot change and life has to go on. I am rehearsing as usual, hoping that the situation will change and we will go back to work,” said Zoey, who started off as a dancing partner for Bev at Pamview Restaurant.
Mapimhidze says although at first people mocked and looked down at dancers, they had come to respect and realise that it is a noble career.
“People have come to realise that we are just as important as other professions. Our dancers are feeding their families and sending their children to school from their earnings. We have earned the respect of all,” said Mapimhidze.
Makwame is looking forward to the day when Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed in the entertainment sector for them to get back to action.
“Normally, these days of the year are our busiest, but this will not be the case this year. I am waiting for the day when we will have those parties and those exciting days in drinking places. I know, one day, they will come back,” said Makwame.
Mapamhidze said ZDA was planning to approach the National Arts Council to lobby government to have some of the Covid-19 restrictions relaxed.
Covid-19 has hit the world hard, forcing the suspension of gatherings and the closure of entertainment centres such as bars, halls, night clubs, and restaurants.
Even churches too have not been spared with less than 100 people allowed in Zimbabwe to gather for a church service while sporting activities like football are now struggling to get back on their feet after being given the green light to resume.