Babsy says disabled artists are ignored

STILL CROONING: Legendary Babsy Mlangeni perform at Carnival City, Big Top Arena Photo: Veli Nhlapo
STILL CROONING: Legendary Babsy Mlangeni perform at Carnival City, Big Top Arena Photo: Veli Nhlapo

Babsy Mlangeni is tired of being overlooked.

The 72-year-old legendary singer told Sowetan that musicians with disabilities get a raw deal.

Speaking on the eve of the release of his comeback album, the first in 10 years, Mlangeni said it was only musicians who had been in exile who benefit from government-sponsored events.

"The promoters of shows don't recognise us. Do you know that I have never performed at Macufe or Moretele? It's been 21 years of freedom but I've never performed at any of the events on April 27 (Freedom Day)?" he asked.

"We can perform; the problem is that these shows are given to youngsters who know nothing about showbiz and know nothing about us. Even on the radio they don't play our music because the young presenters don't identify with our sound."

He said organisers always make promises and then disappear instead of confirming their bookings.

While he may be disheartened, Mlangeni said there were efforts to restore them to their former glory.

"As long as Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa is there for the next 10 years things will be better, otherwise they will bring someone who will derail his plans."

Mlangeni said his new album took three years to record because of financial constraints.

But he had to make new music because his fans who still play his old songs from albums such as Motho ke Eo and Nna ke a Phela kept asking him about it.

He features Steve Kekana and Johnny Mokhali. And he worked with his sons Lebogang and Sifiso.

The song Ommone Jwang is dedicated to his late wife Motlalepula who died in 2013. "I got asked how did I see her beauty, and my answer was 'seeing is believing but touch is the gospel truth'," he laughed.

"I'm a blind man, I'm a machine and I know beautiful women."

mofokengl@sowetan.co.za

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