Just a few days away from Zimbabwe’s 2018 elections, artistes have joined the political bandwagon. Some like high-riding dancehall chanter Winky D, Sandra Ndebele and Thomas Mapfumo are publicly expressing support for different candidates through music releases, albeit in an indirect manner for others. Artistes are among the most impacted members of Zimbabwean society given their dwindled disposable incomes. Few artistes are able to eke out an existence for themselves and their families. It is small wonder then that one artiste, the musician and one of the organisers of the Bulawayo Arts Awards, Nkululeko Nkala (nk), also known as Khuliyo, is challenging for the Pumula House of Assembly seat as an independent candidate. IndependentXtra’s Admire Kudita (AK) spoke to the artiste to get an idea of his motivation for participating in the elections:
AK: How is the campaign going?
NN: It’s deeply eye opening.
AK: To what were your eyes opened?
NN: The field.
AK: And why did you feel the need to join politics?
NN: That we need to change the assumed DNA of T-shirts and politics of the belly.
AK: What is it you are bringing, how will you do this?
NN: We are all in politics. I just decided to be involved in shaping my future and the futures of all the youth. We need to restore trust by delivering on the ground. Win or lose, I am forever working for Pumula and the arts constituency.
AK: What stories from the campaign can you share that have broadened your view or touched you?
NN: How people ask for alcohol first. How no one trusts politicoans anymore . . . But doing campaigns every day we are making inroads.
AK: What sort of inroads?
NN: People know about Nkululeko. We have a flier in almost all the households and we are still pushing.
AK: What are you pledging to do for the constituency?
NN: We need a self-sustainable community. We have all we need just lacked creative leadership. For example, behind every shop we have industry. People making furniture, welding etc. We have Pumula Poly.If we formalise those then we have employment cover. Sport and art are also huge. They need investment. For example, Khama Billiat earns R550 000 a month.If we invest and cultivate, we will have multiple stars. Kanda Bongoman in DRC and Youssou N’Dour in Senegal are examples of artistes who turned to politics. The wisdom of such a transition is best qualified by results on the actual ground. Whatever happens on Monday, Khuliyo will be feeling like he at least tried to help turn his fortunes along with those, not of fellow artistes, but the rest of people of his constituency.