By Maiko Zulu

So it seems the artificial ‘support to artistes’ has finally run its usual race and artistes are once again realizing that politicians and governments will only need them at their convenience and particularly when they want the artistes to support their campaigns.

From the time the gassing of innocent citizens (by the way we still need answers to this) and through the lockdown measures of the COVID-19 pandemic, most musicians have had no performing jobs and as far as I can see, there has been no deliberate relief measures either by government or by any opposition party to support musicians and other performers. The many organisations that use artistes for their various campaigns have equally abandoned the artistes during their time of critical need. Even the National Arts Council seems nowhere in the picture apart from drawing salaries and incentives for themselves. A number of artistes are hungry today and because of their celebrity status, even their own friends and family think it’s a joke when these artistes ask for financial help. In other societies, issues of depression among artistes would be interrogated. Even money that ZNBC owes musicians for royalties through ZAMCOPS is nowhere in sight. And this is close to K2m if not more.

For artistes, this should be a point of realisation that no matter how much you help them, politicians have no place for you when it matters most except for a few who double between being artistes and being professional praise singers. Without campaigns or by elections, you are on your own as before.

Now is the time for artistes to advocate for good governance, accountability and integrity among policy makers because this is the only way artistes are going to sit on the same table and enjoy the national cake to which they contribute in baking. Now is the time for artistes inspire and educate the citizenry and to sing the song of the silent majority who sacrifice their dignity in facing this artificial poverty.

As we approach another general election, Artistes should not be daipers for politicians but rather be sources of vital advice and provide solutions for those in positions of authority. Artistes ought to be relevant in the quest for justice for all by inciting their followers to elect responsible leaders and to to be the nation’s watchdogs.

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