The arts sector is highly dynamic and fluid just like the lives of its main actors. Most of the artists have had their promising careers extinguished like a candle in the wind in their prime as premature deaths have stalked the industry. For fans who enjoy artistic products, the focus is rarely on how well they live, but largely on how good their latest offering is.
This has tended to put pressure on many musicians that then try to outdo others and even stretch themselves beyond what their bodies can take in a bid to stay on top.
One of Zimbabwe's leading musicians, Oliver Mtukudzi, last weekend celebrated his 60th birthday and more than three decades in the music industry with a call to fellow musicians and the general public to be disciplined to live long.
Musicians showered praises on the music maestro with many of them urging aspiring stars to emulate Tuku.
Up-and-coming artistes usually lose their way after a single hit song due to failure to handle fame and end up getting their lives into a mess through improper behaviour and having multiple partners culminating in deadly infections that have robbed many a musician of their lives.
Piracy has seen many musicians depend on live shows rather than the sales of albums. The pressure to remain on top has driven many musicians to abuse drugs in a bid to enhance stage performances. Drug lords have taken advantage by supplying the gullible and impressionable artistes although the after effects have far-reaching consequences.
Reckless behaviour usually follows when artistes become addicts with such stars like Whitney Houston and Brenda Fassie going down the drain.
While we may not go as far as proposing a code of conduct for the arts sector, minimum expected behaviour is called for and the call by Mtukudzi for people to live disciplined lifestyles to match his milestone should be a call that applies to everybody. Music shows should be places where people unwind and enjoy themselves after a hard day's work. A few beers create quite some atmosphere for those that drink, but revellers should be able to control their actions as they tend to make wrong decisions.
There is a dearth of role models and the call for discipline should challenge artistes to rise from their depths of mediocrity and be firmly placed on a pedestal where our young ones can behold their deeds, learn and enrich their own lives.
To many, it might just have looked like an ordinary birthday celebration by Tuku, but bringing together so many artistes even from across the borders to celebrate life is quite commendable. We have seen successful businesspeople hold mentorships with up and coming businesspeople and the arts sector too has become big business.
It is against this background that artistes need to harness the wisdom gained over many years from the likes of 77-year-old Dorothy Masuka and 60-year-old Tuku and impart such skills to the young generation in their 20s and 30s so that they carry the baton into the future.
Our artistes need to strive to leave a legacy and shake off their image of the olden days of being ruffians and characters not deserving any respect. It takes discipline to achieve that.