Mbulelo Mpofu, Showbiz Reporter
LAST year, award-winning Afro-pop South African duo, Ndumiso Mdletshe and Sphelele Dunywa, popularly known as Blaq Diamond staged their highly-anticipated debut live performance in the country.
The show was well-attended as scores of people from around the country flocked Umguza Yacht Club to see the Summer Yomuthi hit-makers in action.
Flanking Blaq Diamond were local acts in the form of trapper, Fish F Ndaramu, “UPresident wama2K” Tebza, MJ Sings and Mzoe 7.
In all honesty, the Blaq Diamond show was supposed to be iconic and according to revellers who attended the show, the headliners of the show rendered a disservice to entertainment lovers.
There are two issues that did not sit well with revellers, the short and “unrehearsed” performance by Blaq Diamond as well as the idea of them performing late, in the wee hours of the night.
Tebza, Fish F Ndaramu, MJ Sings and Mzoe 7 gave it their all and left everything on stage.
Their sets were characterised by unbridled verve and well-rehearsed choreography, but when it came to Blaq Diamond, lofty expectations were dashed as they gave a disjointed piece characterised by lip-syncing.
And when they finally sang an acapella rendition of their hit song, Summer Yomuthi, discord bellowed in the speakers.
This was not the first time that local acts rose to the occasion and gave a stellar performance.
Umshana kagogo curtain-raised with poise when Big Zulu touched base in Bulawayo last December.
Blaq Diamond’s performance left a lot of unanswered questions. One of the questions asked was: “Is it always necessary to bring an international act for people to party and have their money’s worth or local acts can fill up venues?”
The idea of hosting musical shows for purposes of promoting domestic tourism has been gaining ground lately, and with good reason as this has proved to be a major economic driver.
According to event organisers, it is possible to have paying audiences for local shows.
Gwanda outlet, Phoenix Shisanyama’s head of marketing Themba Masuku said hosting shows for local acts plays a pivotal role in domestic tourism promotion as local artistes fill up venues as well.
“The past year was a good one for us as we made great progress with the place.
We held sold-out shows that were headlined by local acts.
We saw the rise of Master Zhoe, Zhezhingtons and also had The Conga Brothers from Bulawayo frequently selling out shows so I think, it’s possible to have paying audiences for local shows.
“It boils down to proper marketing, organisation of the shows and orderly performance from our own local artistes.
“Two weeks ago, we had ExQ and last week, we had Nutty O and DJ Zandimaz who drew a large pull of revellers.
The place was packed and we’re looking forward to such kind of support for the next shows.
That’s a clear sign that local acts can also do it. It’s not always about them curtain-raising, but them headlining shows,” he said.
When quizzed on Gwanda tourism and how hosting shows is aiding their cause, Masuku said: “Hosting shows promotes and markets local tourism through cultural exchange drawn from diverse cultures in Zimbabwe.
It draws individuals from various corners of the country on the happenings in a particular area.
“For instance, Gwanda is known as a mining town but we do have top lodges, fast food restaurants and places of luxury with very high standards.
We also have future investment opportunities for those interested in investing.”
Last year, The Real Homecoming featuring Bekezela, Berita Khumalo, Vusa Mkhaya, Vuyo Brown and Msiz’kay was successfully held and the last quarter of the year saw the rise of club DJs group, Conga Brothers who took their sound to the mining town of Gwanda thrice.
The turn of the year saw the resurgence of the Matopos Sailing Club which for long had been neglected.
The new motto, “Creating a Nexus” brought about the idea where tourism and entertainment were combined.
Due to the high demand, more events have been held, a sign of growth for the tourism sector.
Philip Phiri who is one of those behind this initiative expressed happiness at how people are supporting the resort.
“So far, it has been good and we appreciate the support we’re getting from members of the public.
This signals the dawn of a new era and we hope to build our Family Entertainment and Tourism Centre to be a top-class destination to cater for all ages.
“We hope to revive aquatic tourism through activities like sailing, canoeing, speed-boating and other activities to ensure that the Matabeleland region stakes its claim in the domestic tourism scene,” said Phiri.
Top event organiser, Mduduzi “Mdu” Mdlongwa, who is the 3D Events Management managing director, said it is important to focus on domestic tourism.
“We should be concentrating more on domestic tourism because we’re the ones that enjoy our beautiful country as tourists.
Hosting shows brings and migrates people to other places in the country and that’s a plus for local tourism.
“For instance, we went to the ExQ and Zandimaz shows in Gwanda earlier in the month and had a convoy of people attending the shows.
The same applies to shows that are held in Victoria Falls.
People would love to visit the place, enjoy music and the beautiful scenery there.
“The idea is to pull people to different parts of the country to unwind and experience the other side which will be out of the ordinary for them.
I think it’s crucial,” Mdu said.
But for locals to fully enjoy their country’s tourism activities, Mdu said there is a serious need for tourism players to revisit their pricing.
“I think that tourism players should ease up on entrance and activity fees as they tend to be costly and end up being a deterrent on those who love exploring.
If such fees can be reviewed downwards, especially for the locals so that we promote the culture of appreciating our own country instead of going outside the country for vacations, it’ll certainly go a long way,” he said.