By Sukuoluhle Ndlovu
The Covid -19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on Masvingo artists with calls for government to ensure that artists make ends meet during such harsh times.
The pandemic has threatened people’s livelihoods.
Interviews carried out by Bustop TV took note of how the pandemic has affected the artists in Masvingo.
Jazz Singer, Innocent Tshuma said artists are struggling financially and government should put in place strategies to make sure they sustain a living.
“As an artist we are facing financial problems, we have been recently making earnings on shows and bookings but now because of lockdown and its restrictions there is nothing much we can do as we also used to market our music in streets and now we are relying social media. Not everyone affords to market their music on social media platforms. We used to sell CDs to earn a living and many of us are now caught in between.
“We are relying on international collaborations and now since the boarders are closed we have been restricted and there is nothing we can do”, he said.
He called on government to intervene and create shows for them even during lockdown that can help artists earn a living.
Jazz singer, Thabo Sibanda added that most artists stay out of town and it has not been easy for them to travel.
“There are no shows taking place and this is causing hunger and many artists are running broke, l even as an artist l cannot hustle for studio time, some of the artists stay out of the town so it will be hard for them to travel due to the restrictions being faced and many artists cannot release any new songs.
“We are calling for the promoters to also go and request that artists do live stage performances so that they can get money for them to feed and maintain their upkeep. Companies can also play a role in helping artists by signing them and this will help them sustain themselves financially”, Sibanda said.
Gospel Singer, Ratidzo Wekare said Covid -19 took them by surprise and they do not know what the future holds.
“Financially we are not stable and had made long term investments thinking we will generate more money but due to Covid -19, there is little we can do. Marketing our music online is very expensive. Upcoming artists are being hugely affected and they cannot register with ZIMURA and they require US dollars which most of us cannot afford.
So for now we are trying to be entrepreneurs to make a living and government should make ways for us to be able to market our products at a lower cost that is affordable”, she said.
Last year, Sport Minister Kirsty Coventry launched an artiste fund for musicians, dances, actors, athletes and others, whose operations have been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The successful applicants were promised to get ZLW$5,000 each.