Zimbabwe authorities harass or arrest almost all South African celebrities who perform in Zim


A Zimbabwean court has ordered that amapiano stars Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa should be refunded the R325,000 they paid on Monday for damages relating to their failure to perform at an event they had been booked for.

The High Court of Zimbabwe sitting in Bulawayo on Tuesday ordered the country's sheriff of the high court to immediately pay back Kabza De Small, real name Petrus Kabelo Motha, and DJ Maphorisa, real name Themba Sonnyboy Sekowe, $18,400 (R325,772,18).

The pair's Zimbabwean attorney Zibusiso Ncube on Tuesday filed an urgent interdict opposing a writ of execution that was issued against Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa following a court order in favour of the Victoria Falls Carnival promoter. The court order saw Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa being required to the pay the $18,400 with immediate effect or face arrest.

The court order declared that the sheriff should pay back the duo or their nominated agents, which Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa had paid pursuant to the writ of execution.

Victoria Falls Carnival was ordered to pay back the legal costs of the lawsuit on an attorney and client scale.

Ncube on Monday said they were challenging the court order because the musicians, after they had failed to pitch for the April event, agreed with the carnival organisers to refund R230,000 in full and final settlement of the matter.

However, the carnival organisers decided to sue the musicians for damages once they landed in Zimbabwe last week, demanding more money from them.

Ncube had said the demand for damages was not supported by the contract they had signed.

“The contract that is signed was that in the event of cancellation [Maphorisa and Kabza] won't pay for certain things. And these are the things that these people are claiming,” he said.

SA musicians and entertainers have made allegations of poor treatment in their recent appearances in Zimbabwe.

Jazz musician McCoy Mrubata was booked to perform in Zimbabwe but that did not happen as the promoter allegedly abandoned him and his band at the airport when they landed in Zimbabwe and the promoter did not have money to pay for the band's return tickets to SA.

Amapiano duo Tarryn Reid and Clairise Hefke from Gqeberha, who are known as TXC, were allegedly arrested in Zimbabwe last month. The duo, who had visited Zimbabwe to perform at the Yoyo Festival, were arrested by the police for breaching a contract. The two were apparently paid R560,000 to perform in Kariba last year in October but failed to perform.

Meanwhile, the SA Music Promoters Association secretary Lesiba Mothoa said as the body that is representing promoters, their plan has always been to have a formal structure that represents all promoters on the African continent in a bid to create better working relations. Mothoa said the idea started immediately after an African Continental Free Trade Area agreement was signed in 2018.

“We decided to start this exercise after African Trade was signed because as creatives we needed to work together, especially in the SADC region. We did not know that we were pre-empting a situation that we have been seeing happening this year involving three SA artists [Maphorisa, Kabza, Mrubata and TXC]. We have started engaging with promoters in eSwatini, Botswana and some in Zimbabwe. The plan is to have a standard way of working and make sure that we expand the market.

“When we have a standardised way of working, then there will be no-one who will be exploited and the treatment will be fair. The bigger plan is to have all promoters from Africa under one structure or organisation. In this case, the problem is that we don’t know what was the contract between the artist and promoter.”

Attempts to get a comment from DJ Maphorisa and Kabza drew a blank as their management team was not available with cellphones switched off. Both artists' cellphone numbers went to voicemail the whole day.

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