THE seventh edition of Nguva Yakwana, an annual gospel show that was again held in Harare last week, was a big yawn and there were reports that some artistes shunned the event due to poor remuneration.
The artistes who participated put up lacklustre performances, much to the chagrin of the highly expectant audience.
The show, which appears to be losing glamour with each edition, failed to rise to the expectations of the audience, denying revellers value for their money.
The audience was surprised to realise at the last minute that South Africans Vuyo Mokoena, Buhle and Zodwa - as well as a number of local artistes who were supposed to perform - had not turned up.
As news started trickling in that there was only Thembinkosi (of Usathane Ujampa amafence fame) from South Africa, people started pouring out of the Harare International Conference Centre. South Africa-based Zimbabweans, Bishop Ollah Juru and little known Mattie Sengwayo also performed at the show.
According to sources, the artistes had earlier been promised substantial remuneration, but it turned out at the last minute that they would get "peanuts," resulting in some artistes deciding to stay away from the show rather than toil for nothing.
Unconfirmed reports also alleged that Vuyo - who last year also shunned the event - decided to shun the event because of his unresolved bitterness with Ivy Kombo following the damaging assertions she made two years ago.
"Fungisayi (Zvakavapano) had refused to take part in the show because of the paltry remuneration. It was only at the last minute that Admire Kasi managed to plead with her and promised to add more money that she performed under protest," said the source.
A musician who performed at the show told StandardPlus that she only performed because she did not want to disappoint her fans .
"Financially, the show had nothing to offer. It was as good as performing for free. How do you describe a situation where I have to pay my band members at least $500 000 each, yet I am given a paltry $2m? I performed just to please my fans who I know had paid hard-earned cash to come and see me perform. In any case, some of us are not into gospel music for money, but to minister the word of God," said the artiste.
The source alleged that one seasoned gospel artiste was paid $1m for her performance.
However the show's executive producer, Admire Kasi, said artistes do not take part in Nguva Yakwana for money, but to advertise themselves. He said the South African artistes who did not perform failed to make it after having problems with immigration officials.
"Thembinkosi managed to make it after a very long struggle. Artistes want to be part of Nguva Yakwana, some even offer to perform for free. If you look at the expenses we incurred, you would never want to be involved in Nguva Yakwana," said Kasi.