24 April 2018

Zimbabwe: Local Piracy Level Shocks Thomas Mapfumo

Photo: Afropop
Thomas Mapfumo

He obviously heard about how piracy is growing back home when he was in the United States, but he did not know about the alarming level at which the evil is galloping away. When he last visited the country, legendary musician Thomas "Mukanya" Mapfumo saw piracy growing on the local music market and it seems he did not anticipate it would get out of hand like a ferocious veld fire.

Yesterday he came face to face with reality when he saw an unknown compilation album of his music being sold for 50 cents on the streets.

His management team bought the album to show him how the marauding piracy has brought the local music industry to its knees.

He was made to understand why great record and distribution companies like Gramma Records and ZMC and Metro have been pushed out of business.

When he met Minister of Sport, Arts and Recreation Cde Kazembe Kazembe at his offices yesterday, Mukanya voiced his concern and said the Government should intervene with prohibitory measures.

"I bought this 12-track compilation on the streets for 50 cents. I don't even know about it. Even the artwork does not belong to us.

"My management and I are shocked with this level of piracy. Can you imagine how they are destroying our lives as artistes?

"Government is also losing taxes through this and something should be done urgently," he said.

He said people should respect artistes' works.

"Do you know for one to do a proper recording with those 12 tracks in the United States there is need for about $20 000 for studio booking, mastering and production costs among others.

"Then someone decides to sell this for 50cents. This is very disturbing and this problem should be solved by the Government. People should go to jail for piracy," he said.

Mukanya met the minister as part of his homecoming programme that has seen him engaging various stakeholders in the industry ahead of his show on Saturday at Glamis Arena.

The musician will share the stage with Oliver Mtukudzi, Suluman Chimbetu, Winky D, Gary Tight and Andy Muridzo.

Minister Kazembe assured Mukanya that the Government will take steps to deal with piracy.

"Yes, we have the law that deals with but we need to look at it again. We are going to set a task-force and think tank team, who will come up with best ways to deal with this fast so that we act. It is disturbing and worrisome," he said.

He said Mukanya's visit to his office was also meant to discuss possible ways to help artistes.

"I am glad to announce that Mukanya said will be coming back soon and he wants to establish a Thomas Foundation Trust which will see musicians benefiting and as Government we fully support of this," he said.

Speaking about the evolution of music in the country, Mukanya said parents should support their children and help them nurture their talents.

"In United States, life is not easy but one thing I like about them is that they fully support talents.

"It is not about forcing a child to be a doctor or lawyer. They support their children's talents. Parents should not discourage their children from taking up music."

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