Alluring urban groovers dazzle Cape Town

HARARE - Legendary Oliver Mtukudzi has succeeded so much on the domestic scene that promoters, especially, those in the region, have no problems in organising blockbuster shows featuring him.

Alick Macheso is so delightful and energetic to the extent of performing many energy-sapping shows during the week.

Rising sons of late musicians such as Suluman Chimbetu have been consistent in holding their own in a cut-throat music business where the hardened reap financial rewards.

Yet, while all this has been unravelling before us, there has been little attention on the young urban grooves musicians who have done well under very difficult circumstances, to sustain their genre.

They are certainly not Tuku or Macheso, but have what it takes to be noticed in the Diaspora.

Where Mtukudzi and Macheso have drawn thousands, they have compensated with solid supporting acts.

One such story of regional penetration is found in Cape Town, South Africa, where urban grooves’ stars have struck “gold”.

Among those that have been performing in Cape Town regularly are Winky D, Freeman, Stunner and Roki.

Freeman’s manager, Hillary “Punchline” Mutake said the major reason why they have been frequenting Cape Town is that the demand has grown very high.

“Freeman has been to Cape Town twice. I must say the second show had a better attendance than the first. I think Cape Town is now a popular destination because so many Zimbabweans are moving from various parts of South Africa to Cape Town.

“They state the reasons as Cape Town being much safer as there are less deportation risks and that it is quieter there. Promoters also realised that there are more Zimbabweans in Cape Town so they are capitalising on that,” he said.

“At least when he performs outside the charges are higher and he makes more money there. It even increases his value here as he will be commanding a certain level of respect. People respect those who go and perform outside more than those who only have local shows,” he said.

Dexter Chikerema of Mambo Promotions echoed the same sentiments as Mutake.

“ I have promoted the Reggae Cup Clash with about 20 DJs, Freeman live in Cape Town supported by eight artistes and now am working on Stunner and Betty supported by international Zimbabwe hip-hop Kapital K and also Dj Cleo and Nox on December 15.

“I pay between $700 — $1500 performance fees for Zimbabwean artistes excluding other expenses such as travel and accommodation. There is a huge Zimbabwean population and a lot of promoters who work on integrity and professionalism in the Cape. It is also diverse,” he said.

Most urban groovers travel from Harare to Johannesburg by bus and then fly to Cape Town. Usually if it is a single person they travel by air throughout the whole trip.

Jonathan Banda, Winky D’s manager said Cape Town has a sizeable number of Zimbabweans who love dancehall.
“Winky D has been to Cape Town several times and one of the reasons is that we have our record label there, Black Lab records.

“The moment people say there is demand they should qualify it. All I can say is there  is a sizeable number of Zimbabweans there.

“This is the reason why you find that some artistes who are not big here can actually get a slot there and find it difficult to get shows at home.

“It is all about how many people one attracts. Cape Town pays an artiste according to how much he or she is worth. For Winky D, he is on a different level now.

“He has been to London, Australia and in London he once used a platform that was used by Tuku and Macheso.

“These are some of the aspects we look at when we are charging for shows such as the ones in Cape Town,” he said. With most of Zimbabwe’s Diaspora population being in South Africa, no wonder artistes are making it their second home.

But one thing is certain; the shadows of Tuku and Macheso seem to be a harbinger for great things to come for the urban grooves artistes.

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