Odongo Odoyo

Topical commentary

Bringing a big-name artist to perform in the country is a clear proclamation of meeting the financial demands of the artist. I have always wondered why highly hyped concerts involving prodigious musicians in Juba flop. If you were thinking along the same line as I am, I got a hint. Some so-called sponsors across the city have chosen to flip the script of sponsorship through a show of unflattering, unruly behaviours by evading their financial responsibilities. This unpleasing treatment was shown to Tanzanian legendary musician Lucas Mkenda, popularly known as Mr. Nice, when a said sponsor vanished in thin air after taking the Takeu style crooner to a hotel and left the bill unpaid. As a matter of fact, the ‘Rafiki’ hit maker found himself in unexpected wall of shame and embarrassment. This does not only portray the bad image of the local organizers of the show, but the country in general. As of 2012, Mr. Nice was considered to be the highest paid East African musician who garners 4000 USD per show. We never expected such a highly priced entertainer to travel all the way from Dar-es-Salaam to Juba and not perform. South Sudan as a country still has an emerging music industry with artists who are leaping hard to hit the international musical spotlight. The coming of famous music stars in the country should present opportunities to rising local musicians to map the way on how to collaborate or partner with them to reach greater heights. Nevertheless, this can hardly happen if what Mr. Nice experienced persists. When Harmonize, one of the Tanzania’s music firebrands came to the country last year, he was taken aim at by American-born Nigerian superstar Davido. Davido, whose real name is David Adedeji Adeleke told Harmonize that he was ‘too cheap to perform in South Sudan’. At first I found his remark outrageously excruciating, but that was before I knew some foreign artists are given substandard treatment while in the country. Back to Mr. Nice, I reckon the message he would convey to the people of Tanzania about South Sudan, especially to fellow artists who might have planned to come and stage live concerts in the Africa’s youngest nation. It is time we show foreign artists some respect and dignity. If you do not afford to cover up for the expenses of a high-profiled artist, just back-off and do something which matches your budget because the embarrassment you bring will not only be on you but the nation. Happy New Year!  

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