An independent body of local artists today (4th January 2018) held a press conference at Moshoeshoes’s statue in the city center. Artist claim they haven’t gotten what’s due to them for their performances at the Ultimate Music awards. The awards were held last year in November and up to this far, all the local performers haven’t been paid.
Speaking on behalf of the artists, Thabo Tau, famously knows as Thizozo, said that these awards that are meant to grow the music and entertainment are becoming a great concern. He pointed out they (artists) have been informed that all South African artists have been fully paid amounts as high as M60, 000. Which raised concerns as to how does the Ultimate Radio, or LNBS process foreign payments and fail to pay Basotho, who are the sole benefactors of the same awards.
“ South African artists were given a chance to submit quotations and were paid the fees they stipulated, but as for us (Lesotho artists), we were given a flat rate ranging between M2,500 and M3,500 if you were lucky enough to negotiate terms.”
Unfortutnately all of these were informal negotiations that didn’t even involve contracts being signed and most of the communication was done telephonically by the organisers.
Thizozo also indicated that only this morning they received a call from Director General, who claimed that she wasn’t aware of what is happening, and he mentioned that the director mentioned that as far as she is concerned this award ceremony wasn’t supposed to happen. She however made a commitment that she will look into the matter and promised that by Monday, all artists would have received what is due.
As convincing as this might be and very convenient, some artists are still not convinced that by Monday they will receive their share. They claim that if nothing transpires on Monday, they will be forced to sue the Ultimate Radio.
One artist, Selimo Thabane, who scooped five awards, said that there is no need and place for South African artists on the Ultimate Music Awards stage, as this undermines local artists.
“They (SA artists) offer nothing better or more. We could actually perform for free because we want to see the UMAs grow.” Thabane further said that this was clear incompetence of the ministry and questioned how a branch of government could host such an event without any ministry/departmental budget.
“The constant scandals surrounding the Ultimate Music Awards and the music scene are quite evident that this issue needs to be addressed. And we are aware!” said a very concerned Thabane.
The Ultimate Music Awards ceremony was powered and sponsored by Vodacom Lesotho with a value of M400,000 ( a press conference was held for this announcement). As for the rest of these other sponsors, there was no clear mentioning as to what amounts they have pledged; Alliance, Lesotho Flour Mills, Post Bank, Bashoeshoe Pele, Standard Bank Lesotho, Victoria Hotel to name a few. With this esteem array of sponsors, one can’t help but ask questions- where did the money go?
As the artists wait for Monday to come, we wait in optimism that a necessary introspection and evaluation be done. Lesotho is booming with immense talent and if its not nurtured, then we are doomed.