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The Plight of Musicians Living Outside Harare

Deep in Mudzi district in Teketeke village under chief Chikwizo is one gifted 30 year old singer/ song writer Collen Timeo who is otherwise known as Mr Timz.

By Mukundi Masinire

He began his musical exploits at a very tender age while doing his primary education at Mapombo Primary School.

“At Mapombo Primary and Secondary schools is where my talents were exposed.

“I could recite poems, play guitars and sing on assembly and on many other different public places,” he said

Having recorded his debut album Namata Musiki at Moods of Africa Studios in December last year and also about to release his second album plus a video, Mr Timz has realized that music life in Zimbabwe is very difficult especially when you live outside bigger towns like Harare and Bulawayo.

Most of the things he needs to market, promote and distribute his music are centralized in these big towns such that it is very expensive for him to reach to levels he wants to get to.

Making a name in Zimbabwe (with regards to music) is heavily dependent on radio, television and newspapers, and accessing these mediums is a mountain to climb for Mr Timz.

“Having to travel long distances to Harare is a great barrier for me to interact with radio stations and attend to vital interviews and programs.

“When I was invited by Ztv as a guest I had to arrive at Pockets Hill Studios a minute before the end of the program,” he said

In recent years, community based radio stations like diamond FM and YA FM where introduced in to help ease the problem facing communities in small towns.

However, the introduction of these two radio stations is but a drop in the ocean considering that there are 10 provinces in the country expected to get the services of 1 television station, a few radio stations and a few printing presses all based in the major towns.

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The above mentioned fact speaks volumes in terms of how Timeo’s challenges as an artist based in the rural areas are far from over.

Collen Timeo`s story is not an isolated case but a depiction of thousands of stories of talented musicians living in remote areas who are failing to realize their dreams because they are far from action.

In recent years the government liberated the arts sector from the unequal yoking with the sports sector and created the Ministry of Rural Development, Preservation and Promotion of National Culture and Heritage being led by cde Abednico Ncube.

Most stakeholders in the arts industry welcomed the development thinking that this will tremendously improve the welfare of artists and generally improve the arts sector.

It is however not the case as facts on the ground are showing that the Ministry hasn’t done much in terms of catering for the welfare of artists especially those living in rural areas.

“So far the ministry hasn’t done anything significant to achieve rural and arts development in the country.

“It’s not me only but many musicians are questioning the role of the Ministry of Rural Development, Preservation and Promotion of National Culture and Heritage,” said one artist who requested anonymity.

But what needs to be done to ease the plight of musicians living in remote areas who are failing to realize their dreams because they are not based in Harare or Bulawayo?

Zimbabwe Union of Musicians (ZIMU) spokesperson, Edith Weutonga believes that other stakeholders in the music industry should join hands to assist these musicians.

“A few weeks ago I received an email from someone in Binga seeking help on this issue.

“As ZIMU we have been trying to reach out as much as possible to our fellow musicians in the rural and isolated places.

“The idea is to collect their music and hand it in on their behalf or link them with a ZBC contact who then collects a whole file from a certain area because individually some might not make it at all,” she said

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Sharing same sentiments, Jacaranda Culture and Media Cooperation (JCMC) artists’ director Leonard Mapfumo said to ease the scourge; the business community must invest in the arts sector.

“I believe the greatest challenges facing artists in the rural areas is finance and resources.

“It’s unfortunate that the business community is still reluctant to support the growth of the arts industry but I feel if they chip in with assistance these challenges will be a thing of the past,” he said

Mapfumo added: “As JCMC we have put together a number of instruments to help the undiscovered and financially deprived artists.

“In partnership with the Chinese Federation we have a talent search program that goes around the country looking for individuals and give them a platform to be seen and heard.

“We are also partners with the Chinese Embassy; and we have put up studios to try to assist these artists record and practice film and show case their talents.”

Timeo believes that the solution to the challenges he and artists in remote areas are facing is the introduction of more community radio stations.

He also encourages artists from the rural areas to take advantage of social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp saying they play a great role in helping them create a name.

“Artists from remote areas must take advantage of WhatsApp and Facebook to interact with many people on a daily basis.

“The government should also decentralize the airwaves by introducing more community radio stations.

“I believe this is the best strategy in assisting musicians based in remote areas who do not have equal opportunities with those in major towns,” he said







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  • Confirmedd as a true story by Mr Timg~collentimeo@gmail.com cell/app 0716879293

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