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“I Remember Being Paid 50 USD For A Show,” – Sha Sha

Zimbabwean musician, Charmaine “Sha Sha” Mapimbiro who is based in South Africa recalls she used to perform for US$50 in front of as few as five people.

Sha Sha who is now regarded as the Queen of Amapiano said that money was one of the challenges she faced when she marked on the musical journey. She told HYPE in an interview:

You just constantly don’t have money and you just constantly try to get the next paycheck and try to make sure you get heard; you perform for 5/6 people. It was crazy! Trying to get the paper, that was the hardest part ever. And also, just for the music to be heard, that was a struggle. Being patient and waiting for that breakthrough but it’s just not happening. Seven years was quite a long time, worse off with your parents breathing down your neck, asking all sorts of questions and family gatherings with people asking “so, what do you do”. Also, having to face that reality when people ask you, but well, nothing is happening. I just had to keep on keeping on, keep fighting and getting small jobs, events, and all. That must have been the hardest part, really.

I would say my lifestyle has changed. Back in the day, I used to catch taxis when I wanted to go to town. I didn’t have a car or anything. At some point, I remember being a waitress, a receptionist, I remember being paid 50 USD for a show. That was all the come up, and then eventually, now, it’s a different situation. 

While she had since attained fame and some fortune, Sha Sha initially had not thought she was good enough to make it professionally until when her friends took one of her singles to the radio and it popped off.

Sha Sha also reflected on her upbringing, which saw her moving around various countries and cities within Zimbabwe. 

She said such a diverse upbringing had made her into a shapeshifter that can navigate between various languages and cultures. 

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