What promised to be a good night, turned dramatic as South African gospel artist Sipho Makhabane could not perform at Bingu International Conference Centre (Bicc)because the show’s promoter did not pay for the venue.
The Big Fish, as Makhabane is popularly known back home, was scheduled to perform, together with Patience Namadingo, at the National Product Magazine’s Fifth Anniversary.
However, as the night started with a dinner and awards as per the theme of the 50th edition of the magazine, rumours started flying that Makhabane was not going to perform.
Fans continuously crowded the verandah of the Bicc auditorium entrance as the show was to start 6pm.
Drama started in the room where the awards ceremony was being held as dinner ran out while scores of patrons had not yet been served.
Some fans started venting out their anger in the presence of Minister of Transport and Public Works Reverend Malison Ndau.
“We paid for this dinner, therefore, we must eat,” one fan was heard saying.
One woman angrily stormed the room and handed over her two K25 000 tickets to the event’s organiser, Steve Chinyamula, while demanding her money back.
Unfazed, Chinyamula continued with the awards amid growing resentment from the fans.
Meanwhile, the fans who were waiting for Makhabane closed the room’s entrance, while screaming: “We want our money back!”
After the awards ceremony, patrons thought it was time to dance with Makhabane, but that was the beginning of another drama as rumours of no-show grew.
Chinyamula was the centre of attention, and in no time, he was whisked into a private room for discussions with the Umodzi Park management.
“He paid for the room he was using for dinner and the awards, but he did not pay for the auditorium [where Makhabane was supposed to perform]. We, therefore, could not allow him to use the venue,” said Umodzi Park sales and marketing manager, Temwa Kanjadza, in an interview.
At that moment all what the majority of fans wanted was their money while Makhabane was calmly regretting the events.
“It’s a sad story to fly all the way from South Africa to find things not organised. I am sorry to all those that bought tickets wishing to see me on stage. But it’s not my fault and, unfortunately, I have not been officially briefed as to what has really happened,” said Makhabane.
Chinyamula confirmed in a separate interview that he, indeed, did not pay for the auditorium.
“I booked the venue of the show and I was supposed to pay for it today [Friday] but I had too much on my hands and could not find time to go to agents who were selling tickets on my behalf to collect money for that purpose.
“I thought I could negotiate with the organiser’s to allow me proceed and pay them from what I would collect at the door,” explained a visibly distraught Chinyamula.
It was in the middle of the interview that a camouflaged police officer came into the room where Chinyamula was with the venue’s management and arrested him, allegedly on a claim that he did not pay for services he sought at a mechanic in Kawale Township in the city.
While some fans felt cheated more and seemed defeated, others still clung to the organiser shouting: “Pay us back our money before being taken into custody.” n