Artists should take insurance policies

HARARE - When Cell Insurance launched the Celebrity Funeral Cover Plan in 2010 specifically meant for artists, only 53 managed to pay the required once-off payment.

Established through a partnership between National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz) and Cell Funeral, membership to the scheme was through payment of $50 as a once-off payment or instalments of minimum of $10 for five months which would guaranteed the member a full funeral cover.

The scheme was popularised and marketed through various platforms and provincial offices of Nacz but most artists took no interest in its benefits.

But shockingly, what has emerged in Zimbabwe in recent years is that while artists shun medical insurance and funeral assurance, they have failed to raise hospital fees money when they fall ill and when some die, there is no money even for a coffin.

The Daily News on Sunday this week looks at some of the cases in which artists have struggled for medical and funeral care.

Last Sunday, Sista Fya, a dub poet passed on and friends and relatives are still running around to fundraise for her burial.

To avert the embarrassment, fellow artists yesterday were to perform at a benefit concert for her.

The club owner where they will perform has donated the venue.

Hers is not the only case. Pretty Xaba, better known as Mai Muvengwa, had a similar scenario. She was seeking assistance for a medical procedure in India after being diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus.

Musicians, as well as other artists, fundraised for her but only raising just above $2 000, which was a pittance as compared to the $15 000 she required.

She was then rescued by PHD Ministries leader Walter Magaya who gave her $18 000, after pledges by corporates and individuals were not honoured and time was running out.

Rapper Mizchif died on a bus from South Africa on his way back home after his mother had gone to ferry him following the deterioration of his health.

Mizchif’s fame was not only earned in Zimbabwe but in South Africa as well.

He once worked as a Video Jockey (VJ) for Channel ‘O’ and even worked for other South African radio stations as well.

Nevernay Chinyanga (Muvengwa) died a pauper in South Africa in 2010.

He was under the care of a friend after battling hyokalemia (a condition in which the concentration of potassium in the blood is low) for two years.

Tongai “Dhewa” Moyo, who died in 2011, left a lot of debts accrued as he sought medical assistance.

Before his death, he was also seeking help to buy drugs with minister Webster Shamu driving his fundraising.

He left his son Peter in debt and most of his first shows’ takings after went to cover the debts.

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