Promoters, Artistes Feel Economic Squeeze

Arts promoters and musicians alike are feeling the pinch due to the current economic shocks Zimbabwe has experienced over the past few weeks amid dim prospects things will be getting better any time soon.

The economic turmoil, which triggered a spike in prices as well as subsequent scarcity of basic commodities coupled with widespread fuel shortage has not spared show business.

A survey carried out by The Standard Style on Friday proved that there has been a slump in activity at most entertainment joints in the capital with some mooting closure owing to the shortages.

Music Promotions Company, Devine Assignments proprietor, Biggie Chinoperekwei who runs a number of night spots around the country said an alcohol shortage was crippling the showbiz industry.

“It’s been terrible for us because when there are [alcohol] shortages we cannot be innovative to sustain the situation.

Currently we are not getting enough to meet demand,” said Chinoperekwei.

The situation, which has also encroached onto the pockets of revellers, significantly reducing their spending capabilities has had ripple effects on artistes who perform at most of these joints.

Zimbabwe Business and Arts Hub (Zibah) arts and entertainment director, David Mudzudzu who runs entertainment joints under the Club Joy Centre franchise in Harare shared the same sentiments.

“We give artistes depending on the volumes we have pushed, so you can imagine what happens when we do not have the beer to sell,” said Mudzudzu.

“Our suppliers have also limited the supplies they give us to very low levels and it is not allowed to import from outside the country so we are between a rock and a hard place.”

Mudzudzu added that if the present state of affairs persisted they will be forced to cut on their staff as they were hard pressed by rentals and bills.

The situation, which spells a gloomy festive season has not only affected night spots but food outlets.

“It is a macro problem, which cannot be controlled by one person but it is the prerogative of government to assist the production side,” suggested Chinoperekwei, who warned the situation was beyond showbiz.

“This problem we are facing should be addressed soon because it not only affects the entertainment industry but the economy at large.”

Though it may be hard to assess the damage the ongoing crisis has caused to arts beneficiaries, it is evident that things are not well for many.

Sadly, the situation comes at the heels of a government ban on public gatherings owing to a cholera outbreak, which resulted in some promoters rescheduling their shows to later dates.

Production of soft drinks and liquor has dipped in the wake of a serious foreign currency crunch in the country.

Delta Corporation chairperson, Canaan Dube, in a recent statement accompanying the company’s financial results, said beverages had significant import requirements and foreign currency shortages were hampering production.

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