Selmor Mtukudzi’s social media posts at the weekend about the hardships faced by artists have rattled the ruling ZANU PF party.
Selmor, the heiress to the Tuku Music legacy, expressed her displeasure with the government’s apparent lack of care for struggling artists during the COVID-19-induced lockdown.
Selmor took to Twitter to express concern over Zimbabwean authorities’ silence while artistes are languishing in poverty.
The post came after her live shows dubbed Remembering Tuku held on May 29 and 30 in Johannesburg, South Africa, in honour of her late father and national hero, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi. Selmor wrote:
This is the first time in the years I have been performing outside Zimbabwe that I have felt sad to be coming back home.
Please Mr President ED Mnangagwa, don’t let us artistes be destitute in our own land.
Let’s copy what South Africa is doing and allow us to work for our families.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the showbiz sector has remained closed, throwing most artists into abject poverty.
In a bid to stave off poverty, a number of local artistes have been flocking to South Africa for live performances.
ZANU PF director for information and publicity Tafadzwa Mugwadi felt Selmor was being disrespectful to Mnangagwa. He said:
We have taken note of concerns by music artistes who have registered their plea for a waiver in the arts sector to ensure they are cushioned in these COVID-19 measures. We will be engaging leaders about the issue of a waiver.
However, we opine that our colleagues in the arts sector must learn to engage with authorities and express themselves respectfully rather than through insults.
Football authorities set an example and signed themselves to strict conditions in light of this pandemic. Now they are on.
Hazvidi kutukana kusina maturo (we should not needlessly insult each other). This is a new dispensation.
The Music Associations and Arts Promoters in Zimbabwe recently met with Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation deputy minister Tinomudaishe Machakaire and deliberated on issues affecting them and the sector at large in the COVID-19 environment.
After the meeting, Machakaire gave assurances that he would forward their proposals to the relevant authorities, but is yet to give feedback.