HARARE - Veteran South African music star PJ Powers will headline a gig set for Old Georgians Sports Club in Harare on May 7.
The concert seeks to raise funds to support a specialised anti-poaching dog unit.
The 52-year-old musician, who is probably best known in Zimbabwe for the hits Jabulani and There is an Answer, will share the stage with fellow South African artiste Ghapi and a host of local artistes who include Run Rhino Run singer Bud Cockcroft who is also the concert organiser, Gary Stanley, Mackay, Public Nuisance, Amy & The Calamities, DJ Macson, and DJ Frank.
Advance tickets for the gig dubbed “Rhino Fest Three” are going for $15 while those who will buy tickets at the venue will have to pay $20.
According to concert organiser, who has consistently used her singing and songwriting skills to further anti-poaching and conservation initiatives in Zimbabwe, all proceeds from the gig will support the specialised dog unit initiated by The Soul Trust.
“The specialised dog unit is called K9’s For Conservation. The specially-trained dogs will be used on tracking operations in support of anti-poaching efforts nationwide.
“They are based in Matabeleland and already have four trained dogs and six kennels. Their goal is to have 24 trained dogs and handlers, and 24 kennels. The dog teams would be available for deployment to any area of Zimbabwe, hand in hand with The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority, for anti-poaching operations,” said Cockcroft.
She added that the Rhino Fest Three has the backing of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority, as well as many other independent conservation agencies. Cockcroft became the darling of local environmentalists in 1988 when she organised two gigs that raised funds for the war against rhino poachers.
“The name ‘Rhinofest’ has both history, and rich goodwill from two very successful events that I was involved with back in 1988 — Rhinofest One and Rhinofest Two.
“Both these events were very successful, raising a total of almost 85 000 Zimbabwe dollars, which at the time, was a considerable amount. All proceeds went directly to The Zimbabwe National Conservation Trust, who administered them as necessary to National Parks for Operation Stronghold, or what became known as “the rhino war,” she said.
Unlike the 1998 Rhinofest gigs, Cockcroft said the forthcoming one will attract many expenses.
“Rhinofest Three is being planned … we have had many local bands and musicians pledge their support, and again they will be providing their services absolutely free of charge. We have seven local acts lined up, all of whom have requested to be part of the bill — free of charge — just to participate, so the spirit is already there!
“Additionally, in an effort to pull a large crowd to this event, we have contracted both PJ Powers and Ghapi … They are obviously charging us to perform, but they have given us decent rates.
“However, unlike the past Rhinofests, there are now considerable costs involved which we cannot expect to be donated, the cost of the South African artists, sound, light and stage equipment, marquees, security, air fares and accommodation, work permit fees, Zimra, National Arts Council costs, etc — the list goes on.
“We are therefore appealing for sponsorship and/or donations of any kind or amount,” said Cockcroft.