Senior Arts Reporter
Beatrice-based sungura musician, Simon Mutambi, says he is now surviving on handouts from his fans and other well-wishers as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on the music industry.
The famed guitarist revealed in an interview with The Herald Arts that he was housing some of the 13 band members at his Beatrice residence.
Most musicians have been feeling the heat from Covid-19 virus, which saw performances being banned under the national lockdown measures.
“Things are tough, my brother,” said Mutambi. “This Covid-19 pandemic has affected a lot of our programmes, arts sector and I cannot keep up the pace now.
“I am surviving from handouts extended to us by our fans and friends. The fans are the ones who used to come to our shows. I am trying to hustle since the little savings that we had are exhausted.
“The family is now too big. Imagine, some of my band members are depending on me as I had to also feed them and their families. I have two children and a wife who also are looking up to me.”
The “Mukadzi Akanaka” hit-maker said he had been selling maize, although the market has downsized because of the recent good harvests around the country.
“It is difficult for everyone and even the small business,” said Mutambi.
“I was selling maize, but it is no longer lucrative and the profits are dwindling everyday. We usually end up consuming some of the maize since there is no market and we need to feed at the same time.
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“We used to survive on gate-takings, but since live shows were banned, there is nothing we can do although we appreciate that it is a measure to curb the spread of the virus.
“We also learnt not to rely on one source of income.”
Mutambi said he has not yet tried the virtual platforms because of location and network challenges.
“I stay on the outskirts of Harare and doing virtual shows is a mammoth task because of network challenges.
“I am hoping that someday one promoter or any organisation would chip in and assist us in that regard. We need to continue staying relevant in the music sector, otherwise we will end up being forgotten.”
Asked if he was working on an album this year, Mutambi said: “I am not going into the studio anytime soon because of financial challenges.
“There is no album this year unless there is a miracle that is going to happen, but for now, nothing is on the table, even a single.”