As different sectors continue to grapple with effects of the global coronavirus threat, the disease has almost choked the local art and entertainment industry.
Several players in the country continue cancelling and postponing their planned events to stay in line with government’s directive made last week of restricting gatherings to less than 100 people.
However, the situation seems to bite musicians more as they have been forced to suspend live performances. Random interviews we conducted have revealed how tough it has been for the artists.
Black Missionaries Band manager Ras Ray Harawa admitted that they have been hugely affected by the turn of events. He said it is a tough period for them because their office has been closed.
“Because of piracy we rely on live performances for our survival. When we organise a show it is not just us as musicians who benefit. There is a line of different groups who also get a cut from the event. So, as you can see this whole line is cut,” he said.
Harawa said for now, the group is surviving financially but they hope the situation will not prolong as it may become very tough to sustain themselves.
He said: “We are a limited liability company. Our boys are still being salaried but we hope that this period of inactivity will not go on for long as it will become hard for us.”
In a separate interview, musician Patience Namadingo who cancelled his mashup concerts, said the cancellations meant losing some money that was used for the bookings.
He said:“The development should act as a wake-up call to musicians and artists. In life we cannot put all our eggs in one basket. We need to have something to fall back on. Personally, I have a few investments that are keeping me going, as well as my new gig as a brand ambassador for FDH.”
Namadingo said artists should see this as an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and create new content for the future.
The status quo has also threatened the staging of some local annual festivals such as Sand Music and Tumaini. Organisers of the two events have expressed fears over the staging of the events while remaining positive that they will still go ahead.
Director of Impakt Events, organisers of Sand Music Festival, Lucius Banda said they have started having doubts over the situation.
“It is very hard for us since we are supposed to celebrate the festival’s 10 year anniversary and we cannot afford not to have it. Whether it means pushing it to December we will do it. The other sad part is that we don’t know if people will have recovered from the financial effect of the pandemic by then,” he said.
However, Banda said they will have to restrict performers to artists closer to home such as South Africa. He said people will need to celebrate after the pandemic and the festival is a good platform to do that.
Tumaini Festival’s Menes Le Plume said they are taking a wait-and-see approach before coming up with a final decision on the event.
He said: “Right now people’s focus elsewhere is defeating the pandemic first. In such a situation it is difficult for us to start planning and sourcing funds for the event. We will see what happens at the end.”