Have you ever wondered how much local television actors and actresses make? Fans have always had questions concerning the subject. Being an actor is often taken as a symbol of status and financial success but not in Zimbabwe.
Recently taking a walk with a good friend I can say we were walking to town from Mzilikazi and well we met one famous television star whom I greeted as we have met before on arts business my friend was excited.
We continued with our journey without saying anything and it seemed my friend was glued in his on thoughts after a while he asked”kanti laye uyahamba ngenyayo” at first I laughed then I answered and asked a question at the same time. Isn’t he human? He is he said but he is a celebrity I expect him to be driving. Well since my friend had spent the better part of his life in South Africa I couldn’t blame him because that side it is a norm to find popular television figures drive flashy cars.
Although as I did an analysis it is not only my friend who believes that television stars should be rich and cruise in latest wheels almost everyone believes that. In some countries like Nigeria and South Africa actors make a lot on a single production and it is known how their are paid, their amounts is in the neighborhood of thousands if not millions. Our tale is different as we hardly make half of that.
The issue has been debated before producers have been blamed for taking money for their own benefit and have been described as liars, the government have been blamed for not supporting the sector our local broadcaster have been blamed for failing to pay actors who take part on productions that are aired on both state owned radio and television.
Veteran talented and creative individuals end up quitting acting due to poor remuneration. Some change careers ending up selling wares in street corners and other places people laugh and view being part of the sector as a dreamless career. Is it a curse to be on television in Zimbabwe?
Some spend months after doing a production without getting anything I know we are building an industry but how can we build an industry without paying our own workers some actors have turned to volunteers using their talent.
Genevieve Nnaji, Patience Ozokwor are some of the highest paid African actors who make big bucks daily in Nigeria. Hence the popularity of some of our productions Who is our highest paid Zimbo actor and how much does he/she makes the question linger in everyone who has a heart for Zimbabwean productions. We should we blame for poor remuneration of our local stars.
In recent times artiste have been calling for a separate arts ministry which I hope will be addressed soon.
I remain opmistic that the Honorable Minister who is responsible for the creative industry will open an ear to arts practitioners and administrators and help actors make from their talent. And I would say we can’t develop the industry by being apologetic we must demand the developmental right of this nation to grow and develop its creative industry.