Zim promoter propels local artistes in SA

BULAWAYO - Plumtree-born Phakama Nkomo has made a name for himself by promoting Zimbabwean artistes such as sungura giant Alick Macheso, Nicholas Zakaria, Martin Sibanda of Ndolwane Super Sounds, Jeys Marabini and Clement Makokotsha Magwaza.

The Daily News on Sunday’s Jeffrey Muvundusi recently spoke to the South Africa-based music promoter on a variety of issues, including his career and plans for the future.

Below are excerpts of the interview:

Q: Who is Phakama Nkomo?

A: Phakama “PK” Nkomo was born in Plumtree in Luvuluma Village. I was born and raised there and that’s still my home which is close to my heart. I am 42 years old and am based in South Africa but I am regularly in Zimbabwe.

Q: Tell us about your music promotion career, when and how did it start?

A: It all began in 2007 when I became a manager of Allen Ndoda, a musician who is also from Plumtree. It was then that I began to have an interest in promoting music. I successfully and officially registered my music promotions company in Zimbabwe called Underground Entertainment.

Q: Has music promotion been lucrative for you?

A:  I have always had a passion for the arts, especially music and as such I can boldly say it’s a calling. At times the concerts I promote flop but I am always self-motivated for the next event. So at the end of the day, for me it is not about money but the passion to see musicians, especially the upcoming ones, grow to be established ones and be self-sustainable.

Q: Who are the artistes in South Africa you have been working with so far?

A: I have been working with a number of Zimbabwean musicians who are based in South Africa such as Allen Ndoda and Madala Boy.

Q: Which Zimbabwe-based artistes have you taken to South Africa for shows?

A: In Zimbabwe, I have worked with the likes of Macheso, Zakaria, Martin Sibanda of Ndolwane Super Sounds, Jeys Marabini and Clement Makokotsha Magwaza. The list goes on.

Q: A few months ago, you created a programme under which local artistes could do collaborative programmes. What is the current status of this initiative?

A: Ndonda and Gift Amuli have just released their first collaborative album which they launched in South Africa. The album titled Yikholokho/Ndizvozvo was released on August 26 and was launched on the same day at Hillbrow Theatre. The album is doing fairly well. We are going to do a Zimbabwe launch probably end of October. We are currently looking at the artistes who should feature on the programme. The aim is to unite the artistes and music followers at large.

Q: Recently, we heard reports of a fatal shooting incident at one of your shows in Hilbrow which left one dead and scores injured. What really happened?

A: It was a very tragic incident that led to loss of life. The matter is still under investigation. We will release an informative statement once investigations have been concluded.

Q: As a promoter, did you take responsibility? If so, how?

A: As a company, we can say that we have taken responsibility as we have gone as far as assisting the family in terms of the burial costs. I will be travelling with the family to lay the deceased to rest in Tsholotsho soon.

Q: Hasn’t the tragic incident affected your reputation as a promoter?

A: It was an isolated incident which took us by surprise and shocked us in a big way. We cannot judge ourselves harshly based on a single incident. We have a very good track record.

Q: What did you learn from that incident?

A: It taught us that we need to keep on improving on the security side of things to ensure the safety of our fans

Q: We understand you have an interest in assisting struggling sungura musician Paradzai Mesi. Is this true?

A: I strongly feel that Mesi is one of the most talented music composers in Zimbabwe. I therefore believe he needs all the support and assistance that he can get.

Q: Have you personally spoken to Mesi?

A: Not yet but I have sent emissaries to him. How we will assist him will depend on his contract with Gramma Records. So the idea is to sit around the table with him and members of the Gramma management. I have already spoken to Emanuel Vhori, the managing director there; not with the intention of taking him out of his contract but to explore ways in which we can help him. I am really keen to assist Mesi revive his music career so that he can reach greater heights once more. It’s not only him there but we have quite a number of up and coming promising guys from Harare that we have spoken to with a view of working together.

Q: Besides music promotion, what else do you do?

A: I also work for the City of Johannesburg in the communications and stakeholder department.

Q: Why are artistes from Matabeleland seemingly playing second fiddle to their Harare and South African counterparts?

A: I think it’s because most of the Ndebele-speaking artistes are now based in South Africa and because of that they don’t get a lot of airplay in Zimbabwe for one reason or the other.

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