Whose Homecoming is it anyway?…The fierce tug-of-war for Kalawa’s flagship tagline

28 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
Whose Homecoming is it anyway?…The fierce tug-of-war for Kalawa’s flagship tagline FOCALISTIC

The Sunday News

Bruce Ndlovu , Sunday Life Reporter

MORE Entertainment’s flyer about its upcoming gig, a show dubbed the Homecoming, had been out for a few minutes before it was met by a groundswell of criticism on social media.

At first glance, one would have been forgiven for thinking that the criticism and ridicule, particularly on Twitter, was unnecessarily harsh. The Homecoming roster for the gig slated for 12 December at the Bulawayo Athletic Club, seemed to be staked to the brim with superstar talent.

On the bill was, Focalist, a wordsmith who has blazed a trail in the Amapiano genre, with his hit Ke Star subject to a remix by Nigerian heavyweight Davido which catapulted it to global recognition. Also on the bill was Winky D, a proven performer whose electric stage presence Bulawayo fans have been starved of in the best part of two years as lockdowns took their toll.

At face value, with other acts including Buffalo Souljah and Nox included, it seemed to be a lineup fitting of the Homecoming tag.  However, social media was quick to notice one fatal flaw in that seemingly high-powered line-up.

For a gig titled the Homecoming, there was a distinct lack of local representation, with only Ma9nine being the only recognisable artiste from Bulawayo.

It did not take long for the organisers to rectify their mistake, as they suddenly brought on board DJs Nospa and Eugy, performer Mzoe7 and hosts Babongile Sikhonjwa, Taffy Lyn and Patie Nyathie brought in to complement Madam Boss.

However, that did not deter those that felt that the gig had already fallen short of “Homecoming” standards, with Vusa Mkhaya, Berita Khumalo and Bekezela joining forces for a gig termed the “The Real Homecoming”, a move thought to be a direct response to More Entertainment ‘s gig. The Real Homecoming has been slated for 28 December.

“We named it the Real Homecoming because three musicians from Bulawayo are coming back home for real.

We know people react very well to controversy so we played along,” Mkhaya told Sunday Life in a conversation.

Vusa Mkhaya

That move however, has not been warmly received by More Entertainment who last week changed the name of their gig to the Official Dope Party.

“We didn’t know that there’s an event that happens in December that is called the Homecoming,” the group’s manager Pardmore Gawanga told Sunday Life.

“Our Homecoming is a theme because we are based in South Africa and we were basically saying we are coming to Zimbabwe to show you what we do in SA. We do our events in South Africa and people in that country know about More Entertainment than those in Zimbabwe so we were saying this December let us show how we do, that is why we called it Homecoming. This is not our trending name, our trending name is More Entertainment, Dope Party – Soft Life.

The Homecoming was just a theme in the same way we have done Summer All White Party or many other themes in South Africa.

“This was a name that we were going to adopt then leave. Now because of these guys with their flyer which said the Real Homecoming is coming we ended up changing the name just to Dope Party Official launch.

We want to make sure we are only here for entertainment. If you see the people that we have worked with before, you will realise that the next thing for us to do would be to bring artistes from Bulawayo to SA where we have worked with some of the biggest acts there from Cassper to Major League and Oscar Mbo,” he said.

Gawanga explained the logic behind the changes made to the list of artistes that are set to perform on the day.

“We have changed names and lineups for that and there are certain reasons for that. The main one is that we as More Entertainment, are not here to compete or disturb what anyone was doing. We are not here to campaign against anyone’s project.

We are here for enjoyment, we are here to have fun, we are here to how people the unique way that we do things, the Dope Party way.

“We first changed the lineup because when we started this, it was for Harare but later on we thought, after we do Harare, let us do Bulawayo. So now when we decided to come to Bulawayo, we pinpointed a couple of artistes from the city but some of them were not available, for example Sandra Ndebele. So, we ended up with only Ma 9ine who was on the flyer.

As soon as the flyer came out, it was not received well because people felt we were bringing in artistes from Harare and we did not care about acts from Bulawayo. However, as soon as we got names of artistes and hosts from Bulawayo, we added them and removed those from Harare,” he said.

However, for Mkhaya and company, More Entertainment did not have a reason to change the name of their gig as theirs promised to be vastly different outing.

“I saw their new flyer and it seems that they have changed names and I hope it has nothing to do with us because the events are completely different. They can’t be spooked by our show events are two weeks apart, at different venues, with different lineups and different kind of music,” he said.

The tussle for the Homecoming tagline however, merely serves to expose the gap that has been left by Kalawa Jazzme’s flagship event on the city’s entertainment calendar.

The Kalawa Homecoming was one of the premiere events in the city and since 2018, many event promoters have tried to replicate its influence in the City of Kings with little success.

“Covid-19 has really gone down for now although there is a threat of a fourth wave, but at least life is slowly getting back to normal as we are gigging now.

As for the Kalawa Homecoming, we won’t be hosting it this year,” Kalawa spokesperson Scotch Mathenga revealed recently.

In 2019, the Bulawayo Shutdown failed to live up its name, despite being touted as the “new Homecoming” as it brought a lineup of A-list stars from across the Limpopo.

This year, the rumour mill in local entertainment circles suggests that another gig, featuring the red-hot duo of Kabza and Maphorisa has been scheduled for the traditional home of the “Homecoming”, Queens Sports Club, on 27 December, the same day that the Kalawa’s crowd puller event was usually held. It remains to be seen whether the two heavyweights will fill the Kalawa-shaped hole in Bulawayo’s entertainment calendar. Meanwhile, More Entertainment is still at pains to explain that their gig does not share any DNA with Kalawa’s now defunct Homecoming.

“If we are in South Africa, we only do Ballers Party. It’s not that we tell people that if you don’t have money don’t attend.

It’s the way we set up our packages. Resultantly people that can access those are ballers and we don’t do the big numbers.

If you go to our pages, you will see people buying expensive bottles of champagne, the Don Perignon Veuve Rich and all those other champagne brands. We don’t even sell beers and ciders in our gigs but only premium bottles and champagne.

This year, since our launch we hosted four gigs and Harare and Bulawayo are supposed to be the fifth and sixth of the year.

The structure of these gigs is different from what we usually host in SA,” Gawanga said.

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