It was in 2010 that someone brought a noble idea to the discussion table. They suggested that dancers create an association, which they did and named the Dancers Association of Zimbabwe (Daz).
Some of the roles of Daz included protection of both male and female dancers from various abuses, setting minimum charges for performances and assisting in times of need by securing money or services for dancers.
The dancers paid and still pay annual subscriptions of US$20 per group, which Daz uses to finance its activities. I was one of the people in support of the initiative. Dancers in Zimbabwe, particularly women had suffered abuse at the hands of bar owners and promoters.
Their remuneration was not pegged, so it was easy for them to be exploited. Setting up Daz was the only way that order and fair play could be assured in the fast-growing sector. With the support of prominent bar owners and promoters, nothing seemed to be destined to go wrong. How short-sighted I was!
To date, the same association has done nothing for the dancers that it purports to represent. Dancers are still being paid peanuts and they are yet to be insured against mishaps that may occur in the course of duty.
The accident that befell the Apama Styles School of Theatre Arts (Assota) recently comes to mind. Two weeks ago, the group, popularly known as Apama Dance Group, was involved in an accident that claimed the lives of Never Sibanda (30) and Thenjiwe Ngwenya (20), a couple that had two children. The children have been robbed of parents and breadwinners.
It is in such circumstances that you expect dancers' associations to spring into action and find ways to mitigate the plight of the survivors and the orphaned kids.
So people might ask what Daz is doing to help? At a press conference on Thursday, Happaz Mapimhidze, a senior member of Daz said they had made contributions towards the funeral.
But whatever the amount they helped with, it was not enough. Daz, in the few years that it has been in existence, has done nothing to justify its existence. Take for instance the Alick Macheso-Peter Kagomera issue where the latter failed to travel to the United Kingdom and South Africa simply because he did not have identity documents.
Is Daz seriously saying they failed to help Kagomera acquire travel documents? Three weeks before Apama left for Mozambique, the dance group embarked on a fundraising campaign trying to secure funding for their debut foreign trip. Daz was inconspicuous and stood aloof. I wonder how the association would have reacted if the group had performed well.
I am sure Zimbabwe would have witnessed yet another visit to the state house by the group facilitated by Daz, because they know any such visits bring good tidings.
The journey for Apama only materialised after City Sports Bar and other well-wishers forked out the money, while Daz remained bystanders. That attitude has seen Daz losing out when they could have been heavily involved in cultural exchange programmes.
The association is not recognised by any serious person in the sector because of such tendencies. On Thursday Mapimhidze tried to stop a fundraising press conference for Apama saying it was too early to do that.
Too early when kids and families are on the verge of starvation? It's high time Daz came back from their honeymoon because the marriage has much more to it than their little holiday. Whoever is in control at DAZ should be realistic about the situation on the ground.