Chimurenga guru, Thomas Mapfumo failed to perform at the Harare International Conference Centre as he wound up his peace tour.

In a statement, his manager Blessing Vava explained what happened. “ We failed to hold the Harare concert at the Harare International Conference Centre as initially planned and had to move it to an alternate venue. Initially, as all venues we wanted had been pre-booked, we entered into negotiations with Rainbow Towers on a cost and bar rights waiver, However the shortages in alcoholic beverages resulted in RTG insisting on a flat fee hire charge, charges which were pegged at USD$30 000. Such a fare would have meant passing on the costs to the fans who were already feeling the overhead pinch of an economy in crisis hence we walked away from the arrangement.

An attempt to use the outside garden at the HICC got us a quotation of USD$10 000 which we felt equally unreasonable for a mere garden without security, ablution facilities, cover against the elements mainly rain in December and other basics which would eventually have to be added separate costs on us and hence the fans.

We decided to move the concert to Club Hideout 99, a nostalgic home for Chimurenga music over the years, without cancelling the date for the said show.

We regretfully had to cancel the Kariba concert despite the crew and members having made their way there. This was because the sound system suitable for the event, which we had rented for the concert, had been vandalised in Kadoma during a Winky D concert in a terribly unfortunate incident and a replacement of equal quality could not be secured especially in the festive season when such equipment is pre-booked and in high demand.
Regardless, we take heart and learn from the experiences of the tour. There is need to collaboration, unity, development and learning if a nation and her arts are to progress and move perfectly into the century of progress.

It is time artistes like us, as well as players in the industry including the Arts Council, promoters and our parent Ministry come together to build capacity not least of all fit-for-purpose venues and fixed matching equipment for every province. That a whole city like Gweru has no sound venue to host a reasonable concert is an indictment on our attitude towards the arts and our seriousness to grow the industry.

The government could recoup its capital expenditure on the venues they build through shared venue charges per event. That way, shows can be held smoothly and with community involvement as there is a sense of ownership and pride in communities that own these buildings through their government.

Finally, we are mere entertainers and a people’s social movement without any untoward hidden agenda. We have been since inception and continue to be such. Music is our line of business and the lifeblood and we serve those who love our music and appreciate it. Our job is to entertain and that is what we sought to do tis festive season. It is what we forever seek. That is our mission.

We would like to apologise to expectant but disappointed fans at venues we either had to reschedule, move, or cancel as tis was beyond our realm of control. While we tried hard to fulfil these, some of our efforts came to naught. Yet we will not give up. Out of the scheduled 9 concerts we will see out at least 8 including an added Chitungwiza concert that was previously unscheduled due to popular demand.

Chimurenga music lives forever because it belongs to the people. God bless Zimbabwe. God bless Chimurenga music. Music is the food of our soul. Viva Chimurenga music. Viva Zimbabwe.