Artists lash out at ‘parasite’ sponsors

They call themselves sponsors, but do their deeds really tally with the word? Allen Ndoda, a celebrated rhumba musician, blames music sponsors for milking musicians.

Allen Ndoda crying foul.
Allen Ndoda crying foul.

“Musicians are living a desperate life and suffering in the Diaspora because of these gold-diggers hiding under the name sponsors,” Ndoda told The Zimbabwean.

“It’s sad that the efforts of musicians are benefiting people who call themselves as sponsors. In my 20 years as a musician I struggled to be where I am today, but financially I am still down because of sponsors. I have worked hard but have nothing to show for it. People won’t believe it as they know how dedicated and committed I am to the music industry.”

Ndoda challenged his fellow musicians to be vigilant. “If we as musicians don’t wake-up we will perish in poverty making money for the sponsors. This mostly affects rhumba and gospel musicians; I urge them to start working independently if they are to succeed in life,” he said.

Two years ago, another renowned rhumba musician Themba Mathe, voiced his concerns to his sponsor All Stars Music. He had released two albums with them but said he benefited nothing out of it.

Themba Mathe got nothing for his music.
Themba Mathe got nothing for his music.

“It seems I am the one who is sponsoring the sponsor – because from the first album I did not get even a cent,” said Mathe to Nothani Maseko, the Director of All Stars.

Nothing to show

“I hosted shows across Matabeleland South province during the 2011 festive season and got nothing again. I ended up financing the shows myself, but the so-called sponsor took everything we performed for. I am suffering because of these sponsors. I started my career under the sponsors’ jacket and more than 20 years down the line there is nothing to show.”

Mathe added that his celebrated second solo-album, Samawrong, also yielded nothing for him.

“I thought things would change for better after Maseko partnered with a rhumba activist Mthaphelo Mathe, but it was worse because I could see that CDs were being sold in numbers yet nothing came to my pocket. I was even struggling paying my rent while someone else was enjoying my royalties. I know that my music is also being sold successfully in Botswana, but to date I have never been given any cent out of that,” he said.

Nothani Maseko of All Stars Music.
Nothani Maseko of All Stars Music.

Maseko reminded musicians to remember that sponsors are their bosses. “Our main agenda as sponsors is to help musicians in administration and financially. As a sponsor you put your money into recording artists, organize shows for them, do advertising for them, hire sounds and also do bookings for them to perform. I lost thousands of rands trying to uplift Themba Mathe’s music through my company but benefited nothing instead was left in debt which I am still trying to recover from.”

“I also work for my boss too somewhere and the truth is I am always looking for more than I deserve. But I have reached an understanding that he should also benefit from me as his employee. Our artists think we are using them in a certain way and they forget we also worked and struggled for that money we invest in them by sponsoring them. They should understand that we are helpers mostly but if there is more food on the table we should both have a taste of it,” said a concerned, Maseko.

Post published in: Arts
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