New music union lays out vision

HARARE - Edith weUtonga Katiji, the caretaker leader of the newly-formed Zimbabwe Musicians Union (Zimu), says her association represents all artistes in the country regardless of the genres they perform.

Katiji, one of the few female bassists in Zimbabwe, told the Daily News yesterday that the absence of sungura musicians in the Zimu interim committee was not deliberate.

“It is unfortunate that out of the 61 musicians who met on July 14 there was no sungura musician present and that is the main reason why no artiste from that music genre was drafted into the caretaker committee,” said the singer/songwriter and band leader of the group Utonga.

The Bulawayo-born bassist, added that her committee was actively mobilising all types of musicians to attend a Zimu feedback meeting set for the Book Café on Tuesday.

“The Zimu steering committee will report to musicians on Tuesday on the status of the music union’s registration with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz).

“We want all musicians to come so that we can chart the way forward,” she said.

“Zimu membership is open to everyone involved in the music industry from composers, guitarists, lead vocalists, backing vocalists and all those who take part in the production of music at whatever level.”

Katiji also revealed that dates for the first annual general meeting of Zimu would be decided during the Book Café meeting.

“The committee I lead is an interim committee, and as such, at some point, an annual general meeting will be held at which Zimbabwean musicians will choose the people who will run the affairs of Zimu,” she said.

The Mukaranga singer admitted she would welcome the opportunity to be the substantive chairperson of Zimu.

“If Zimbabwean musicians say Edith we would like you to continue leading Ziwu I will happily agree.

“I will only continue with my current role if I am given support by fellow musicians,” she said.

“I must emphasise though that this is not all about positions, but about creating an environment which will improve the lives of Zimbabwean musicians.”

According to a statement released by Ziwu early this week, the newly-formed association is a non-political, non-profitable, non-denominational and non-racial entity which aims to promote and defend the good of all musicians and lobby for a pro-musician legal framework.

“Due to a perceived lack of a well facilitating environment which would safeguard the rights and civil liberties of Zimbabwe musicians, the aim of Zimu is to bestow dignity to the music industry, while observing the laws of the Republic of Zimbabwe,” read part of the statement.

The other members of the Zimu caretaker committee are Lloyd Chidikano (vice Chair), Rute Mbangwa (secretary), Pablo Master Nakapa (coordinator), Thomas Brickhill (treasurer), Dzikamayi Machingura (legal advisor), Brian Nhanhanga ( committee member), Terence Mapurisana (advisor), Hector Mugani (committee member) and Daniel Ngwira ( spokesperson).

Zimu becomes the second musician union in the country after the Zimbabwe Union of Musicians which has hardly been active for close to a decade.

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