Zimbabwean artistes who were staging live shows in South Africa where Covid-19 lockdown regulations were a bit relaxed last week came unstuck when that country banned shows in response to a spike in new cases there.


There has been a surge in new Covid-19 cases in South Africa and regulations announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his address on May 30 banned the staging of concerts. Unlike the situation in Zimbabwe where artistes last performed in March last year, it was a different situation in South Africa.


But many high-profile social events were shelved following South Africa’s move to tighten its lockdown restrictions.


According to the adjusted Level 2 of the lockdown in South Africa, social gatherings are permitted, but with limited numbers to 100 attendees or less indoor depending on the venue; while for outdoor venues 250 people or less may attend. The move has dealt a blow to mostly Zimdancehall artistes who were trooping there for performances. Sungura maestro Alick Macheso, who was scheduled to celebrate his birthday party in South Africa, recently cancelled the celebrations.


Previously, Zimdancehall artistes Poptain, Nutty O, Jah Signal, Tocky Vibes and Enzo Ishall have also trekked across the Limpopo holding shows for Zimbabweans living there.


The new stricter lockdown rules by South Africa have unfortunately caught some artists unawares, while upcoming shows have literally been cancelled or at least postponed.


Macheso, who turns 53 on June 10, was scheduled to celebrate his birthday with two back-to-back gigs, but that was not to be.



South Africa had become the go-to country for most Zimbabwean artistes, but that honeymoon has unfortunately been cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Artistes remain hopeful that the entertainment industry will open and alleviate the near collapse of the sector.


The successful hosting of the Bulawayo Arts Festival showed that the arts industry can operate under strict Covid-19 regulations.