One of the leading UK promoters ‘Icons Of Africa’ booked the South African singing sensation, Zahara, to perform alongside the Zimbabwean musical icon, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, for the Easter Holiday weekend in London and Birmingham, respectively.
Performing in a foreign stage together for the first time, the combination of Zahara, 26, and Tuku, 62, was not the one to be missed. Judging by the constant hype that dominated social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the gig – described as ‘Southern Africa’s biggest, superstars live in concert’ in England – was predicted to be the highlight of the Easter weekend.
Good Friday (3rd April 2015), the eagerly awaited night of entertainment arrived and Zahara and Tuku’s fans, who traveled from all corners of England, patiently queued outside The Oasis Banqueting Hall venue in London – hoping to see the multi-award-winning musical faces of Southern Africa in action.
However, those who specifically went to watch Zahara, real name Bulelwa Mkutukana, were left disappointed when it was revealed that the Afro-hair-signature star did not make it to the event as scheduled.
According to the representative of Icons Of Africa, Ezra Tshisa Sibanda – who successfully brought many South African and Zimbabwean artists to the UK in the past – the East London-born singer-songwriter’s failure to show up in London’s gig was just an unfortunate and unexpected situation.
Whilst in the Johannesburg OR Tambo airport terminal and ready to depart with her band, Zahara received some disturbing news: her mother was admitted to hospital after she collapsed and was in critical condition. The singer panicked and rushed to the hospital to see her. To her credit, still committed to honour her contract, Zahara eventually made it to London, but it was already too late to fulfill her promised performance.
With that being said, some fans were not impressed. One unhappy fan said: “They [promoters] didn’t even tell us that Zahara did not come last night [Friday], we only found out when we got inside the venue after paying £30. They could’ve told us before we paid so we could decide if we still wanted to get in or not. No explanation, no apology – nothing. Some people actually came to see Zahara and not so much Tuku and they got stuffed. I’m sure they even started charging more at the door after we got in. Kungovharana chete chete.”
Another disappointed attendee added: “I was so disappointed yesterday… they only told us while queuing to get in, that she [Zahara] was not coming and to make matters even worse, Oliver Mtukudzi did not put up a good show…”
Missing out on watching the Loliwe’s hitmaker live performance was understandably infuriating, but others accepted the situation and praised the three hours performance of the legendary Tuku.
“Those who attended understood the situation and were allowed to use their tickets for the Birmingham show… He [the promoter] also did a great job, both shows were great. Mtukudzi is on another level, he’s the Boss,” said the source who attended both events.
With Zahara’s stress of leaving her mother in her hospital bed, some Birmingham ticket holders were doubtful that the TS Records artist would not manage to perform her assignment at The Tower Ballroom.
To clear up any concern, the cheerful Zahara – alongside her producer Robbie Malinga and promoter Ezra – posted 47 minutes long apology video on Facebook on Saturday afternoon, and assured fans that she was mentally ready to entertain the Birmingham crowd.
This was followed by the Icons Of Africa’s statement of an apology, which reads:
Icons Of Africa would like to offer an apology in light of that Zahara did not feature in London show alongside Oliver Mtukudzi only arriving in London at 0035hrs and late to appear on stage.
This was due to circumstances no one could predict nor alleviate. Zahara was on board the British Airways flight for London Heathrow, just before take off but had to disembark after tragic news about her mother having collapsed and taken to hospital at a Johannesburg Hospital where she remains critical but stable.
The rest of her band made it here safely. However in spite of this, Zahara, has vowed to make it up by performing to the best of her ability and do it for her fans and mum. She will be performing in the Birmingham show tonight alongside the legendary Oliver Mtukudzi who put up one of his best performances ever for 3 hours in front of an appreciative and elated crowd last night.
For those that had purchased London tickets with the hope of seeing Zahara please note that your ticket, if unused in London, will be valid for entry at the Birmingham event. We would like to thank you for your support, understanding and look forward to seeing you at the show tonight. Thanks for the support and God bless you!!
Picture credit: Facebook.