The Zimbabwe Musicians Union (ZMU), being chaired by Edith weUtonga Katiji, was formed in July 2014 and registered with the National Arts Council in December 2014.
In an interview with the chairperson, she said, “the union is there to cater for the welfare of musicians in Zimbabwe. As you all know every sector in Zimbabwe has a union of workers so that is what we set out to do. There have been many cases of exploitation of musicians, contracts going unhonoured, ill-treatment of musicians buy promoters, venue owners or companies.”
“The union plans workshops for the benefit of musicians to inform and educate. Clinics we run have professionals coming in and interacting with the musicians. In the last half of 2017 a women’s desk was launched to address issues that affect women in the music industry”, said Katiji
Katiji went on to say, “Acknowledgement and corporation were our greatest challenges but ever since word got out that we are a registered entity, we have had many musicians interested in being part of the union. The majority of the Zimbabwean musicians are yet to understand the business of the union and the benefits of becoming a member. The union is in a process of engaging radio stations to get them to pay reasonable and respectable dates for the rates per play because currently the rates are pathetic.”
The union has successfully set up offices in Masvingo, Midlands and Bulawayo. Though there has not been any engagement with the parent ministry, the National Arts Council has been quite helpful. However there is hope to meet with new minister, Kazembe Kazembe.
The Zimbabwe Musicians Union board is made up of Edith Katiji, Willis Kachambwa, Rute Mbangwa, Daniel Ngwira, Gwinyai Mharapara and Terrence Mapurisana.
By Buhlebenkosi Hlongwani