Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
LEADING South African jazz promoter Peter Tladi believes that the Victoria Falls Jazz Festival, just like the Victoria Falls Carnival, has potential to develop into a major tourist attraction.
Tladi is the founder of the annual Joy of Jazz Festival held every September in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The promoter, who graced the three-day fete that was organised by Oliver Mtukudzi’s former manager, Sam Mataure, said Zimbabwe has talent which can attract the whole world to the country and also contribute towards its transformation agenda.
“When Hugh Masekela (late) and I started the idea of a festival 21 years ago, it was small and grew into a big festival. I’d like to encourage Sam Mataure to continue doing it because Victoria Falls needs something like this for it grow.
“He has planted a small seed and it’ll grow bigger. Zimbabwe has the new dispensation and I believe arts can play an important role hence creating something like this can help transform the nation,” Tladi said.
He said Government and the arts industry have an umbilical relationship.
“We had similar sport, culture and social events in South Africa and government supported them. Already you have the international phenomena here so you need a massive festival that can attract the whole world where people can come to listen to Zimbabwean music and take photos.
“Chiwoniso Maraire (late) did well to sell the Zimbabwe brand and what you need is to find a platform to continue with this. There are a lot of great songs and musicians in Zimbabwe who people used to think are South African hence this festival needs government and corporate support because social coercion is built by passion.”
South Africa and Mozambique are regarded as the leading jazz countries in Southern Africa with Zimbabwe also faring well.
Tladi, who has mentored scores of artistes including Paul Ndlovu, Rebecca Malope, Brenda Fassie, Oliver Mtukudzi, Mirriam Makeba among others, encouraged budding artistes to be level-headed to avoid prematurely ending their careers.
“There is future in jazz looking at today’s stars, but the challenge is that young artistes become big headed when fame gets into their heads. They just need to focus on giving good music and performances and be honest because publicity kills,” he said.
The Victoria Falls Jazz Festival saw pioneers in the genre such as Zexie Manatsa, Dorothy Masuka, the late Augustine Musarurwa and Green Jangano, as well as Tladi being honoured with certificates and portraits. Mataure said the festival will be bigger next year. — @ncubeleon