‘Food for work’ pains gospel artiste


SOUTH Africa-based gospel artiste Tholakele Ndlovu says she is pained that promoters and some festival directors are still offering food and accommodation as payment for artistes.

The gospel musician, who has been in the music industry for the past 10 years, said promoters should stop exploiting local artistes.

The Queen of gospel, as she is warmly known, is in the country to promote her latest album Ungithobe Amanxeba.

“I’ve a heavy heart and I’m pained that there’re promoters who’re still approaching us and offering food and transport as payment. I’ve food at home and I can get my own transport. We want money,” said a distraught Tholakele.

Declining to name the festivals and promoters who are ill-treating artistes, Tholakele said all events have budgets that accommodate the payment of artistes, hence there is no excuse for non-payment.
“Enough is enough! I believe all festivals have a budget for entertainment and artistes are supposed to be paid. However, you find someone telling you they want you to perform for free or for food. Promoters must rather opt to have three artistes performing and pay them all than have 20 artistes whom they won’t be able to pay,” said Tholakele.

She called for the relevant ministry to intervene in setting up structures to deal with the recurring problem.

“It should be a basic requirement that anyone who has a festival or show should sign a contract that is drafted by the ministry in charge of the arts. This will ensure that people who perform are paid their dues.”

Out of all the promoters and festival directors she has dealt with, Tholakele said only Justice Maphosa of Big Time promotions – the brains behind the Gwanda Gospel Festival – was the most reliable.

“I’ve never had any problems with Maphosa during his festival. When he bills you to be a performer, he gives you a contract and pays you with no hustles.

If there’re things he can’t fulfil in your contract, he’ll point them out. Other promoters should consult him for pointers,” said Tholakele.

The musician has four albums to her name, with the latest, Ungithobe Amanxeba, doing well on local radio stations. She boasts of sharing the stage with renowned artistes who include Rebecca Malope, R Kelly and Angélique Kidjo during the World Cup opening ceremony in South Africa.