Makeba concert is back on track

THE Miriam Makeba commemorative concert will go ahead as planned - at a later date - after a Johannesburg high court ruling yesterday in favour of the organisers - Morris Roda Productions.

The court action initiated by the Department of Arts and Culture followed the withdrawal by the government from sponsoring the event, demanding that the organisers pay back the R3million it had paid for the event.

Morris Roda yesterday told Sowetan that the concert would now be at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, and not on Church Square, on a new date to be decided by the organisers, who are meeting today with other stakeholders.

"I am very sad that people went out of the way and slandered me publicly, damaging my public standing while knowing very well that the issue was before the courts. Roda said I am briefing my lawyers to deal with the issue, and no one is going to get away with this.

"Miriam Makeba is bigger than all of us and deserves better, and so far we have failed dismally to honour this legend."

Mzwakhe Mbuli, whose Vhutsila Association are co-organisers, said: "Was this court action necessary in the first place. As African people our culture requires us to talk first before rushing to the courts. This whole issue should have been handled differently.

"And what is sad is that the artists are the ones who suffer."

Wednesday was filled with drama, with two parallel media conferences held by the government, where it announced that it was pulling out of the concert, and the other by the organisers, who vowed to forge ahead with the event tomorrow.