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money may stop mama africa bash

By Edward Tsumele and Sipho Masombuka | Nov 05, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE CONCERT to honour Miriam Makeba is under threat because of a money dispute between Mama Africa's family, promoters and the government.

THE CONCERT to honour Miriam Makeba is under threat because of a money dispute between Mama Africa's family, promoters and the government.

Sowetan has learnt that at the heart of the dispute was how money donated by the government and sponsors should be disbursed.

The Department of Arts and Culture has already withdrawn its support and will today approach the Gauteng high court to force the promoters to repay R3million allegedly already paid for the concert.

The money was part of R4million the department had allegedly set aside for the bash.

The organisers, Morris Roda Productions and a group led by Mzwakhe Mbuli, are, however, adamant that the concert will go ahead, with or without the government's participation.

"The concert is going ahead as planned. Instead of taking place at the Union Buildings, it will now take place on Church Square, Pretoria. The new venue was provided by the City of Tshwane when we realised that the Union Building was no longer available.

"All the artists who have been contracted to perform - with the exception of Anqelique Kidjo who has withdrawn - will perform on Saturday," said Mbuli.

Among those who will perform are Siphokazi, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Sibongile Khumalo.

Arts and Culture director-general Themba Wakashe yesterday said the department withdrew after the organisers failed to give the assurance that they were ready to hold the concert.

"We had pledged to sponsor the payment of artists but the organisers failed to provide us with a list of artists who will perform at the concert. This (cancellation) has been communicated to the (Makeba) family. We apologise to all concerned, especially the artists and the public," he said.

Roda yesterday said he was going to oppose the government's court action to force him to return the money.

"Where have you heard that after entering into an agreement with concert organisers, the other party just withdraws at the last minute without giving convincing reasons for doing so," Roda said.

Arts and Culture spokesperson Lisa Combrinck refuted claims that the department had pulled out at the last minute.

"When we came aboard, it looked like Roda was working with the family and the Miriam Makeba Foundation. When we allocated the funding, Roda gave the impression he was going to bring in other sponsors, but that did not happen.

"Secondly, it emerged that that artists' contracts had not been signed nor passed on to the department by last week," Combrinck said.


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