THE Eastern Cape provincial government has announced it is to intervene in the plight of premier musician Zahara, real name Bulelwa Mkutukana, following Sunday World’s exposé of her dire situation.
WHO’S FOOLING WHO? Zahara (second from left) at a media briefing at Regent Hotel, East London. Zahara was joined by her parents Khaya and Mlamli Mkutukana and manager, Thembikosi ‘TK’ Nciza (far left).
Eastern Cape Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture MEC Xoliswa Tom says: “As you know, there is a separation of powers – the parliamentary portfolio committee met with the Mkutukana family and will be meeting them again on Monday.
“They’ll then compile a report regarding what actions need be taken and they’ll hand it over to me as a member of government.”
Meanwhile, Zahara’s sister Nomonde claims TS Records boss Thembinkosi Nciza once again ostracised them (Zahara’s sisters) by speaking separately with the parents, who were invited to a press conference on Thursday at which Nciza publicly made more promises to the family.
Tom says she does not know if the press conference Nciza, Zahara and her parents held on Thursday was the result of intervention by the parliamentary portfolio committee as the provincial government was not invited.
The sisters, Nomonde and Bandelwa, approached Sunday World three weeks ago complaining about Nciza’s shabby treatment of their famous musician sister.
On Wednesday the provincial parliamentary portfolio committee on sports, recreation, arts and culture in Eastern Cape met with the Mkutukana family – Zahara’s parents and siblings.
The committee wanted to find out a variety of facts before agreeing to assist the family.
“There has been a positive development to your story.
“Thanks for everything you’ve done. Your story was true. Today (Wednesday) we met with the parliamentary portfolio committee on arts and culture and they want to help my family.
“But they still want to assess matters,” said Nomonde.
Eastern Cape provincial department of sports, recreation, arts and culture spokesperson Malehlohonolo Mlabatheki confirms that her department wants to help the Mkutukana family and that the parliamentary portfolio committee indeed had met with the family.
“Yes, the department wants to help the family very much. Our parliamentary portfolio committee has met with the family,” she said.
“On Monday [tomorrow] the parliamentary portfolio committee will be visiting Zahara’s family to conduct a site inspection and make assessments.
“From there a decision will be taken after due processes as to what can be done to help the family. But the department will help,” she said.
Last week it was not made clear in Sunday World’s report that we did contact Zahara by phone and sent her SMSes for comment on the treatment meted out to her by TS Records management.
She invited this newspaper for an interview at her hotel room at Birchwood after her performance as she believed that neither Nciza nor Sibusiso Leope or Nhlanhla Nciza (Nciza’s wife) would be present at her performance.
As she was leaving East London last Friday, returning to Joburg, she confidently assured this reporter that the interview would be conducted in their absence as they were “definitely not coming to my show”.
“They won’t be present at my show. Come to my show at Birchwood; let’s meet in my hotel room after my performance. I’ll also phone you about half-past six when I land in Joburg.
“My plane leaves East London at 5pm: I will be at OR Tambo (airport) about half-past six and then I’ll phone you,” said Zahara while she was with her family at her home in Phumlani, a village just outside East London.
We visited her for the appointment to find not only Nciza but instructions that Sunday World be barred from entering the Birchwood Hotel hall where Zahara was performing.
Nciza also refused to come out for an interview despite pleas from at least one role-player, marketer and promotions co-ordinator Lucas Matlakgane.
Nciza had become aware that Sunday World was doing the story. He also called photographer while he was at the Mkutukana household and threatened him with damnation.
Perhaps he needs to know that Zahara’s family approached Sunday World with their grievances on TS Records’ unkept promises.
The paper did not go digging for dirt in order to scandalise Zahara as is widely believed.
Neighbours saw Sunday World staff at the Mkutukanas and alerted at least one other weekly magazine that there “are journalists” at Zahara’s family.
The weekly magazine arrived to interview the family when Sunday World had long finished their interview.
What also did not come out clearly is that the yellow-painted house seen in our pictures last Sunday was built by Zahara’s father and was newly painted when Sunday World arrived.
Neither Zahara nor TS Records contributed anything to the renovations of the main house.
Zahara wanted urgently
PHENOMENALLY successful musician Zahara has been offered a deal by Ladysmith Black Mambazo to tour Europe as a replacement for the late great Miriam Makeba in musician Paul Simon’s return Graceland Tour in July.
This follows Sunday World’s exposé last week detailing how her family was disgusted with the way she has been treated by her record company TS Records.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo approached Sunday World for Zahara’s management company’s contact details and offered her the job on the Graceland Tour of Europe, which will be in July.
Simon’s South African-inspired, controversial and apartheid-cultural boycott-busting album Graceland was recorded with South African artists in 1987.
Internationally acclaimed Joseph Shabalala’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo was the leading act. The late Makeba (pictured), popularly known as Mama Africa, played a starring role in the seminal tour.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo manager Romeo Qetsimani, known as Mawawa in music circles, was reluctant to go public as they had been trying to get hold of Zahara since December.
Qetsimani approached Sunday World with this request: “I request your help very urgently. I’m looking for contact details for directors or managers of Zahara at TS Records.
“We want to collaborate with Zahara for the international market. We want to strike a deal with the recording company before the end of April because we are touring Europe during May.
“We also want to check the possibility of touring with her towards the end of this year. I need contact person’s name, e-mail, cell number land line, please, help.”
When neither Zahara nor TS management responded to calls, he elaborated: “We’ve been trying to get hold of her since December because we want her to replace Miriam Makeba in the Graceland Tour of Europe.
“Eight dates have been confirmed for both England and Europe in July. We just don’t know why her management is not responding to such a deal. It’s not the first time that Ladysmith Black Mambazo has been doing this.
“We introduced Vusi Mahlasela to an international audience in such a deal. We used to take him overseas with us and now he tours alone and is well known abroad. We want to do such a deal for Zahara.”
Sunday World contacted at least four individuals associated with TS Records, including both Thembinkosi Nciza, co-owner, and Zahara herself with a detailed text message, as well as phone calls that she was being wanted for such a lucrative European deal. They would not respond.
Qetsimani said he managed to get hold of TS Records co-owner Sibusiso Leope, but he had referred him to Nciza, who had not got back to him by Friday night.
He says it is urgent to sign the contract before the end of this month.