Zahara Story Depressing
Zahara is one of the best things to come out of Southern Africa in the last few years. She has her songs on heavy rotation in the region and when she came to Harare in February she performed to a sold-out show at the Harare International Conference Centre.
Her story reads like TLC in 1994, Five Star in the 80s to add to a catalogue of artists who fell victim to a bad deal with a record company. For all the fame and all the glory, there was no money.
Zahara is signed to TS Records, co-owned by Thembikosi “TK” Nciza and Sibusiso Leope, aka DJ Sbu. However her family says her finances are controlled by Nciza, in whose house she still stays and is treated like a servant. There is a whole hodge-podge of lies and deceit on the part of the record label. The star did her work and the vultures kept making promises.
For someone who has sold 50,000 units after the release of her show-stopping album in August she should have a lot more to show than what she has. The royalties alone should have her doing cartwheels all over the place. While Loliwe got Leope and Nciza new cars, Zahara still uses public transport.
The story reads like that of a pimp and his product. It smacks of some twisted form of slavery. How often do we hear of the sex-trafficking where women are taken far from home and held in bond. Passports are taken away and they are told to prostitute their way out of bondage.
Zahara doesn’t even have a copy of her contract and she doesn’t know how much she is being duped. For all the multitude of shows that she is performing you wonder how much she is ‘paying’ to buy back her freedom.
If the allegations made in the Sunday World are true then this truly depressing. Sadly this is only one in many bad contracts that African artists have to live with. Many of them never get to make the light of day and there is a whole battery of artists who can tell you how their art was strangled to death by unscrupulous individuals.
You can very well expect TS Records to haul her before the media as soon as possible to make a denial. They own her image and the contract probably says she has to fix this or else. However, the fact that the superstar is still pretty ordinary after all the work she has been putting in of late, will make this situation hard to explain away.
If it isn’t true, then the family has some explaining to do.