The Hararenisation of the arts industry is a curse

There is a lot of untapped talent that is geographically spread across the length and breadth of the country.

By Argus Mepo

The most unfortunate incident is that geographical location is a key determiner that contributes to the boom and success of the artists. This in turn makes Harare a strategic place for an artist’s career development and advancement.

By default artists who are not from Harare eventually are at an under privileged position, this is because:

1) Harare houses most entertainment joints, programs and initiatives (Fiesta Fiesta, Cook Out, City Sports Dancehall Cup Clash), key venues like HICC, Harare Gardens, Alex Sports Club, Belgravia Sports Club, to mention just a few.

This puts Harare based artists an upper hand as they can utilise these entertainment joints to grow their fanbase and brands.

2) The most sough after producers/recording studios are based in Harare (Oskid, Dj Tamuka, Rodney Beats, Chillspot Records, No Limits, Mt Zion Records), to mention just a few.

This puts Harare at the centre of music production which is a pull factor that draws artists who are not originally from Harare to come and work with these producers, considering how difficult it is to make a name as a producer, worse if you are not from the capital.

3) Majority of the media entities/radio stations are based in the capital (Radio Zim, S FM, National FM, Zi FM, Power FM and Star FM). There are a few community radio stations stationed outside Harare but they have less audience as compared to these mainstream radio stations.

In addition some other music entities which are central in advancing the cause of artists are centrally positioned in the sunshine city.

One of the main awards ceremony the NAMAs are religiously and consistently conducted in the capital (HICC) despite the fact that they are comprised of artists across the country’s 10 provinces.

For publicity, coverage and interviews artists who are based out of Harare are obliged sometimes to come physically for coverage to these Harare based stations.

4) The fact that a number of artists/producers had to relocate to the capital for them to be on the limelight exposes this Harare centredness problem.

For example music producers like Cymplex, Dj Tamuka, Oskid are all from Gweru. Takura is also from Gweru.

The Amapiano Queen Shasha failed to get her breakthrough only to make a powerful music brand after she relocated to South Africa.

5) There are a number of talented artists who have not reached the climax of their careers because of the geographical factor. For instance, the likes of Asaph (Bulawayo), Diamond Boys (Mutare), Legion (Gweru), among others.

Even the late Calvin released a song titled dai ndiri mushona, were he bemoaned how disadvantaged he was basing on his geographical location and tribal orientation (Ndebele).

Food for thought

The moment we decentralise the arts sector, we will eventually discover vast quantitative deposits of untapped talent especially outside Harare.


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