They say Bulawayo is the hub of talent. From musicians, dancers, actors, painters, designers, poets, writers, sportsman to comedians.
But the supportive crowd is difficult to find. We want to search for the issues that surround the unsupportive nature of the Bulawayo crowd. I have done a little research by randomly asking people about opinions and thoughts and it seems there are numerous factors that hinder support.
Artists always stage events that always have a low turnout. It is actually so disturbing. First of all let’s look into the quality of their work.
I have randomly attended different functions and have seen that we do have some pure brilliant talent birthed in the city. Of course mediocre products exist but in comparison to other cities in Zimbabwe, we have a larger percentage of naturals and that is why we call ourselves the hub of creativity.
The astounding fact is that when one takes their talent outside the country, they are an instant sensation and have something to write home about and mostly something to put in the bank.
Big question “Is the crowd that we perform for overseas a bunch of lunatics who are hungry for any entertainment”? Because they go crazy and are appreciative of the work done. You might say another society may be amused by a different culture from theirs but still.
Those Zimbos in the diaspora will support an artist who comes to perform for them or maybe it’s the homesickness. Harare artists have a crowd though, or maybe it’s the because of the population.
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Someone told me the population in Harare is nearly four times more that Bulawayo, so maybe that may be a factor to consider. Others will play the blame game and say Harare stole all our industries and so we got no jobs to make us able to afford to attend artsy functions. But when Kalawa or Jah Prayzah is in town, venues are filling up! Where are these mysterious people coming from?
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Home products are the best. Mostly because they make us who we are, and they were made for us. It is actually a struggle trying to fight what is natural and plainly speaking at the end of the day; you are sort of detaching yourself from the roots that you are supposed to proud off.
The attitude of fellow natives makes some artists not give a damn about the local crowd and just try by any means to go out of the country. The bible says a prophet is seldom celebrated in his own land, but these are not biblical times: BE Known!
Then there is the one factor almost everyone mentioned: ATTITUDE! Our attitude stinks. We prefer foreign products in an abnormally disturbing manner. We think our own brothers and sisters cannot entertain us.
We do not want to pay for events, but we laugh at artists for being broke. I have met lots of organisers who struggle to even break-even after a local show and artists need to get paid.
Normally some venues will not even pay artists, that is something I find extremely painful, because how is the artist to survive. Then some people have the nerve to say that they won’t pay to watch local acts. As the famous saying goes “Do yourself a favour please,gerrarahiye!”
I doubt there is any solid reason why some artists are not even on social media in this day and age. I have been to shows that I only got to know about through Facebook or Twitter. I do not necessarily go about checking posters on bins in town to know what is happening on the weekend and neither am I a fan of broadcast Whatsapp messages.
Also tweet your moves, groupies and fans like to know what’s up, give people room to discuss you, there’s nothing called bad publicity like they say.
And finally if you do not have the skills to do that, get someone to do it for you, simple. Designing a website is getting cheaper by the day, get yourself one.
There is nothing as boring as hearing about an artist, you decide to search more about them online and you find nothing. You lose a lot of potential fans just because of your stubbornness of not liking social media.
On the contrary, you can find someone with way less talent but with such a beautiful and exaggerated webpage that they start getting fans. Some even get awards!
Last years awards left us shocked, how did that girl get first place? How did that dude get the award? Instead of dwelling in the realm of jealousy, also, how are you packaging yourself?
Artists should work on their product and let’s support them.
Let us make Bulawayo a greater place.