ZTA BOSS BLASTS ANNE OVER ZODWA | Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Chief Executive Karikoga Kaseke has blasted actress Anne Nhira over her requests to have South African dancer and socialite Zodwa Wabantu banned from performing at the carnival calling her a mouthpiece for people who want to disrupt the showcase.
Speaking on Star FM’s 326 Express, hosted by Phathisani Sibanda and KVG, Kaseke said he is convinced Nhira is acting on behalf of people that want the carnival to fail.
“Anne Nhira is just a mouth piece. There are people who do not want the carnival to happen, people who do not want Zimbabweans to be happy and forget about the hardships we are grappling with. Those are the people behind Anne Nhira’s antics.
“IF she was genuine and had genuine concerns about Zodwa, she would have approached the right people, which is ZTA.
“I hear she wrote to the minister (Patrick Zhuwao, acting Minister of Tourism) and I hear the minister replied her. But how we work in government is if someone complains about something straight forward like the carnival, which everyone knows is organized by ZTA, well in such a case, Minister Zhuwao, I know him, he is a very brilliant young minister, he would have consulted us over the issue so we give him the real picture, not what he is being misled to believe by this Nhira girl.
“In her individual capacity, which I do not mean to undermine, I do not think she has a reason to mislead the government like she has done.
“First things first, how did she know that Cde Zhuwao is acting minister? I only just leant of that news this morning. So someone must have told her CDE Zhuwao is acting minister and that is the person behind all that Nhira is saying.”
Kaseke said the real picture is that Zodwa is not coming to Zimbabwe on a ZTA or government ticket but was invited by a private entity to perform at Private Lounge.
“Zodwa was invited and had her ticket paid for by Devine Entertainment, who run Private Lounges, to perform on the 8th of September – in a private function that has nothing to do with the carnival. Then, during a stakeholders meeting for the carnival, we heard from Devine Entertainment (who were part of the meeting) that Zodwa was performing at their venue. They said they had invited Zodwa on the basis of the impact she made when she performed in Bulawayo. People really liked her there and they thought they could entertain the Harare crowd in similar fashion.
“So Zodwa was not invited by ZTA or the Government. She was invited by a private organisation that runs private Lounges.
“In that meeting, people then said we also want Zodwa at the carnival and I am on record as saying – in response to the pleas for Zodwa in that meeting – that if you want Zodwa to perform at the carnival, there are conditions.
“One is that she should wear her underwear as she cannot perform at the carnival with no panties as we hear she does in SA. I said we have leaders in this country, chiefs that lead us at this carnival and they will not be happy to work with us if we allow Zodwa to perform like that as Zimbabwe is still a very conservative society that upholds people’s culture and privacy.
“When this reached Zodwa, she was not amused and said she has worked hard to create her brand and said if the Zimbabwean people said they want her, they must know that brand so setting conditions on me is attacking my personal liberties.
“I replied her and said if she thinks we are attacking her liberties we are very sorry. All I am saying is Zimbabwe is a conservative society and for you to perform without panties, it would be impossible and she agreed to the conditions and is even on record on social media stating that she will perform and will abide by the conditions.”
Zodwa was allegedly banned from performing at the upcoming Harare International Carnival after actress Nhira’s complaint.
Following the complaint, acting Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, Patrick Zhuwao allegedly wrote back to Anne saying:
“I acknowledge your complaint on the above subject matter. Government position is that the artist concerned (Zodwa Wabantu) may not participate at the Harare International Carnival. In this regard relevant authorities have been notified.”
Karikoga said his office had not been notified almost 24 hours after the letter was allegedly written.
H-Metro spoke to Kaseke after his interview on Star FM with the 326 duo of Phathisani Sibanda and KVG and he continued with his concerns about Nhira’s legitimacy,
“Why is she misleading the government? Why?” he said.
“If she read about Zodwa, how did she miss the conditions that I gave?
“The minister responded to Nhira without consulting us, that is my only problem because we ZTA are the organisers of the carnival for the minister. And if this is what happened that he wrote to Nhira, because i have not seen the minister to confirm if that is what he did. If he did, he responded to misleading information. Nhira used hearsay information to mislead the minister.
“Whether Zodwa is there or not the carnival will still be a success. She does not have the impact to render the carnival a non-event by her absence but I fear the minister was misled by a mouthpiece for people who want to harm the carnival.”
“I hear, because I do not know this Zodwa, that she takes off her panties when she performs in public so I said she cannot do so in Zimbabwe. She can do it in Durban if they allow that but not here.”
Asked if ZTA puts the same conditions on the Swazis whose culture allows them to walk topless, Kaseke said that is different.
“No, that is a different case. They are showcasing their culture and even in Zimbabwe we have places where breasts are not sacred and we can allow that. However, for Zodwa, it is for entertainment not culture and she cannot do that in Zimbabwe. If we call the Swazis to showcase their culture, we cannot stop them from doing so, but they wear panties in Swaziland but to them breasts are not private parts.”
Kaseke also emphasized that Zodwa is not coming to Zimbabwe on a lesbian ticket but just as an entertainer and dancer,
“Whether she is lesbian or not, when she is coming here, it is not on a lesbian ticket but strictly on her attributes as a dancer and socialite. We do not, and will never, have a lesbian troop on the carnival as long as Zimbabwe still sticks to it’s laws, ethics and culture. Lesbians will never be represented in our carnival.
We are a serious tourism destination and will welcome visitors regardless of what they are allowed to do in their country.
Anne wrote on her Facebook wall: “Zimbabwe’s tourism sector, which should be one of the instigators of local exhibitions calls a ‘South African’ socialite, not celebrity. A socialite named provocateur Zodwa.
“In this case, Zodwa dances with no panties and posts naked pictures on social media. How does that qualify her to be a Zimbabwe national tourist attraction and to attend a function of the highest stature this year?
“…we have one of the highest unemployment rates and whatever Zodwa, a South African provocateur who is not even one of the top socialites in South Africa is [sic] getting paid could have gone to another young Zimbabwean woman who has worked tirelessly and does so decently, or a dancer if the intention was that particular? We have dancers and socialites in Zimbabwe who would benefit from this national tourist exposure.”
Minister Zhuwao was not available for comment until the time of going to print.