Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
“IT was the worst night of my life.” These are the words that house music songbird Novuyo Seagirl used to describe how she felt about the ZITF Shutdown Bash at the Queens Sports Club where she was injured and booed while performing last Saturday.
The warning signs began earlier in the night when a precast wall fell on her after fans demolished it trying to gain entry into the show for free. She injured her ankle and knee in the process, but gathered the strength to perform. However, she was booed and pelted during her performance, something which angered her, leading to an outburst.
“Bulawayo, you’re hating your own Bulawayo girl. You have no shame and no pride in your own. I know I may be nothing today, but I’ll be something tomorrow. . . At least I’ve got money in my f%$n purse,” a devastated Seagirl told the crowd which couldn’t care less and continued singing the famous Bosso song Int’oyenzayo siyay’zonda.
As a result of this incident, she received criticism and support over her comments. Some said she was not supposed to react in that manner as it was not professional while others decried that Bulawayo had never been friendly to its own musicians, a situation that has forced most of the city’s artistes to relocate in search of greener pastures and appreciation elsewhere.
Commenting on the issue, arts critic Raisedon Baya said Seagirl’s rant has two sides to it.
“There is a good side and a bad side. I like that she confronted the audience. She however, could have been nicer and used sarcasm to address the crowd and not anger.
“But she talked and we’re now talking about it. Maybe something will come out of the outburst,” said Baya.
He pointed out that there was nothing called a Bulawayo audience as most of the revellers at the ZITF Shutdown had thronged the venue to watch Winky D and Jah Prayzah.
“But in principle, there’s nothing wrong with audiences. Mind you, there’s nothing called a Bulawayo audience as music is not confined to a city. That audience was there for Jah Prayzah and Winky D, it was not a Bulawayo audience,” said Baya.
Singer-cum-dancer Sandra Ndebele said although she felt sorry for Seagirl, it was important to know that at the end of the day, the customer is king.
“She was supposed to perform her set all through the banter from the crowd. Although I sympathise with her and what she went through, she was supposed to take it on the chin and be professional,” suggested Ndebele.
She said she was once heckled on stage and it was advice from Alick Macheso that kept her going.
“I used to travel with Macheso as a supporting act and I’d be introduced to the people just before he would take to the stage. The crowd would start drowning me chanting Macheso, Macheso.
“He, on one of the occasions, took me backstage and said I shouldn’t worry about these people and just sing because I had a microphone and speakers — weapons which could drown what the crowd was saying. And that’s how I overcame that problem,” said Ndebele.
It seems that heavy rotation on radio stations is not enough for people to know artistes as throughout the week, many people were asking who Seagirl — a Starbrite, Skyz Metro FM and Star FM Awards winner was. What these people do not know is that Seagirl has a song called AEIOU that received heavy rotation on regional and national radio stations. So popular was the song that it won two Skyz Metro FM awards (Best Female and Best House song) and Star FM Music Awards (Outstanding House song).
However, this seems to be not enough for the hard to please Bulawayo crowd. Madlela Skhobokhobo, with all his popularity, recently confessed that he is very afraid to perform in Bulawayo citing that the crowd is hostile to its own artistes.
Skyz Metro FM station manager, Godwin Phiri said people need to give Seagirl time adding that she has been received well by the crowd each time they have engaged her.
He said as a station, they are inclined to support local artistes as well as encouraging people to support them.
Phiri’s sentiments could point to the fact that there are two crowds or audiences in Bulawayo, one that appreciates and knows the local artistes and the other that does not.
Some blamed the event’s organisers for throwing Seagirl into the deep end as she performed at about 2:30AM, after the main acts Winky D and Jah Prayzah. However, event organiser, Dee Nosh of DTL Records said that was the perfect time for her to be on stage.
“We thought having Seagirl perform after Jah Prayzah was the perfect time for her to shine in her home city. Many artistes would like to perform during prime time and showcase their talent such as Jah Signal and Enzo Ishall who made names for themselves at that time,” said Dee Nosh.
For her part, Seagirl, although describing her experience as the worst night of her life, said it was a learning curve.
“There was a part of me that was nervous in performing after the big fish and I was injured but I was brave and took to the stage. I was happy to be on stage and was looking forward to my performance.
“Though there were people who were unruly it’s fine as this was a learning curve and a lot of artistes go through the same. All this is part of my story and journey,” said Seagirl.