PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa recently banned entertainment and recreational activities as part of measures to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus in Zimbabwe.
Among the measures, the president also prohibited gatherings in nightclubs, bars and beerhalls, effectively stopping performing artists from practising their craft.
As a result of the ban on entertainment activities, most musicians have abandoned even rehearsals and scheduled work in recording studios.
What are top stars doing to cope with the enforced inactivity occasioned by Mnangagwa’s ban?
Dendera star Suluman Chimbetu, who had promised to release a new album next month, told the Daily News on Sunday that he was paying heed to the call by authorities to remain at home and minimise contact with crowds.
The Sean Timba singer has, however, conceded that it has not been easy for him as being in the studio and performing for his fans is now second nature.
“This is a difficult moment for all of us and I am staying indoors and avoiding unnecessary movement. Sadly, most of the time there is no electricity. To pass time, I have polished all the shoes in the house.
“My next assignment will be to plait my wife’s hair. As I have so much time on my hands, playing with the kids is now almost a full time job,” Chimbetu said.
Sungura musician Alick Macheso said he is taking advantage of the ban to be at his farm near Chivhu where he rears cattle and goats.
The ‘Zvakanaka Zvakadaro’ hit-maker said he was minimising interaction with other people and had forgone studio work. Before Mnangagwa pulled the plug on entertainment activities, Macheso had announced that he would drop a new album in June this year.
“This is the time to be on the lookout and avoid unnecessarily risky behaviour. I am at the farm where the situation is more laid back. I will watch how things unfold from here,” said Macheso.
Popular Zimbabwean stand-up comedian Long John, born Learnmore Jonasi, who made history late last year after he won the People’s Choice Award at the Stand-up Spotlight Awards hosted by American comedian, businessman and entertainer Steve Harvey, has promised to drop videos online following suggestions from his followers.
“In times like these we all need a bit of laughter and as such I have decided to do some videos online where people suggest a topic in the comments section and I make jokes about it,” he wrote on Facebook.
On his part, versatile musician Tocky Vibes told the Daily News on Sunday that he will use the break to utilise his home studio to record new music. While conceding that the coronavirus epidemic has wreaked untold havoc, the ‘Tushiri’ singer pleaded with Zimbabweans not to lose hope.
“We cannot afford to be idle the whole period because that will make the situation more unbearable. I am currently recording at home. We cannot lose hope in the process and just stay at home without anything to do. Tikasashanda tinopedzisira taakudyanana kumba uko,” he said.
Songstress Pah Chihera said she spent most of the past week experimenting with new hairstyles.
“For me this is the time to be alone and meditate and in the process come up with new songs. All things being equal, you will have the time to be at the studio, mixing and mingling with others but now I am staying put at home.
“In between writing songs, I will be on my hair and face. I am actually realising that I have some make-up skills and I have experimented on my mum and daughter,” said Pah Chihera.
For Gospel musician Mathias Mhere, the ban has presented him with an opportunity to preach online and urge people to abide by the guidelines set by health authorities and the government.
“I am spending time on Facebook preaching. I am a minister of the word of God and this is the time to be ministering. This is also the time to be raising awareness and I am playing my part by urging people to stay at home,” said the ‘Anoita Minana’ hit-maker.
Singer and actress Faith Candy said she has designed an indoors exercise routine to avoid gaining weight.
“Staying at home is difficult; I am used to working. At the moment I am eating and watching movies most of the time and to avoid gaining weight, I have designed a workout routine, exercising three times a day,” she said.
Comedian Ray Vines told the Daily News on Sunday that for now he will be staying indoors, having shelved the shooting of his short film ‘Culture’.
“I will basically be at home and will use the time to post some videos online,” he said.
Sungura musician Romeo Gasa said the break will afford him time to bond with his family.
“I am spending time with my wife and children and if you see her pregnant soon just know when it happened. This is also an opportunity to come up with new songs,” Gasa joked.
Rising singer Peter Moyo said he will abide by the guidelines of the health officials.
“I am staying at home spending time on movies and music. This is not a time to be moving around despite it being difficult,” said Gasa.