Alick Macheso, the Sungura maestro, will perform two shows in Johannesburg, South Africa, as part of his 53rd birthday celebrations.
The artiste’s fans in Mzansi will have a rare opportunity to see him live in action for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to ExtraTime Entertainment’s “birthday weekend” celebration.
Since Covid-19 arrived on our shores in March of last year, Macheso, also known as Baba Sharo, has only done virtual gigs.
While outside of the country, this will be his first time performing in front of a live audience.
Dino Mudondo, Nox, Tyfah Guni, and Ras Bleds are among the artists who will be supporting Baba Sharo.
Birthday celebrations for sungura singers are traditionally held in Chitungwiza.
Tongayi Mbidzo, CEO of ExtraTime Entertainment, said, “We have agreed to honour the king of sungura’s 53rd birthday in song and dance by hosting these shows at two separate venues in Johannesburg.”
“From now on, these celebrations will be held in Mzansi every year. We were the brains behind the late Dr Tuku’s (Oliver Mtukudzi) annual birthday bashes, and we’re thrilled to be collaborating with another legend in Alick Macheso as he celebrates his birthday with his South African fans.”
The performances take place at a time when local live concerts have been on hold for more than a year as part of the virus’s containment efforts.
Bars and nightclubs, where live music is often performed, are closed.
Virtual work has become the new norm.
Only a few artists, however, have been able to make a significant amount of money from online platforms.
As a result, since the lifting of lockdown restrictions in South Africa, local musicians have been flocking to Mzansi for live performances.
Almost every weekend, a Zimbabwean artist performs in various venues throughout South Africa.
But, once again, the “latest” window of opportunity just benefits the trendy and crowd-pleasing artists.
After receiving approval from South African authorities, ExtraTime Entertainment performed four shows with Nox and Tyfah Guni in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pretoria.
Andy Muridzo is also coming off a fruitful two-week stint in Mzansi.
“Well, as you know, live shows account for a large portion of our sales, so the opening up of South Africa was extremely important because we can now begin to generate income again,” said award-winning dancehall sensation Nutty O.
“I recently performed in South Africa at the Africa Unite show, which was largely dominated by South African acts, with Mzansi fans as well. This aided in the expansion of my network in that country.”
Nutty O believes that local live concerts should be approached with caution.
“Because health is more critical than anything else, we must adhere to the rules set out by authorities in order to prevent dangerous situations. But it’s been much too long since I’ve had any gigs.
“In my opinion, activities should be allowed to take place under strict supervision and observation. Let’s take a page from South Africa and allow events to be staged,” the singer of “Safe” said.
Local officials claim they are also concerned about a potential third outbreak of the pandemic, which has spread to other countries around the world.
But not all that glitters is gold.
Van Choga, a dancehall artist, was recently stranded in the rainbow nation due to a misunderstanding with his promoter.
After a social media uproar, the singer and his colleagues were rescued.
“Musicians invited to South Africa have the ability to interact with new and old fans. When things are running well, though, the money being offered is not what people can accept. However, due to the current conditions, artists are compelled to accept the deals,” Mbeu, an A&R executive, explained.
Poptain, a famous dancehall artist, also expressed his thoughts.
“It’s been a difficult couple of months for us, but I’m just thankful to God that we can now make money from music, which is something we couldn’t do before.
“We’re hoping for better things in the not-too-distant future. South Africa has been a true blessing in my life. We now have the opportunity to engage with fans, and we expect to be able to do so at home as well.
“We are pleading with the government to assist us in these trying times. Given that we are unable to stage plays, I reasoned that we should be granted a stipend from the authorities to assist us in maintaining our livelihoods.