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ZAM to support union formation

MUSIC Association of South Africa (MASA) president Sibongile Khumalo and ZAM chairman Njoya Tee in Lusaka recently.

KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka
THE Zambia Association of Musicians (ZAM) says it will support the formation of a union to represent the interests of musicians.
ZAM chairman Njoya Tee says his organisation will support the union because it has records of musicians being poorly paid after providing services.
Last month, rapper Slap D refused to perform at the Zambia International Trade Fair after being told that he was going to be paid K3,000.
“The calls for a musicians’ union will be supported by the Zambia Association of Musicians considering the many times that artistes have felt used and abused in terms of their pay. Of course, it’s public information that ZAM started off as a union and all the information is with us,” Njoya says.
“In addition, ZAM already has engaged both music unions and associations in the region to share and exchange notes on the pros and cons of both. To this effect, we hosted the Botswana Music Union whose constitution we have and a memorandum of understanding was developed.
“Zimbabwe has equally enabled us to see that an association and union can live in harmony. And documentation is in our possession, we hope to have them in our country whenever they are ready.”
He says the Music Association of South Africa was also in the country and shared with them the South African experience, and that their interaction with Yvonne Chaka Chaka in Lusaka helped them understand what is obtaining internationally.
ZAM also got a call from its counterpart in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and is planning a meeting soon.
They are now hoping to establish a music federation for the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
“Believe it or not, ZAM gas been steering this movement. We realised that our situation requires us to strengthen and establish the association as a force to reckon with for the success of the union.
The challenge in our context is the definition of the musician as a worker and to identify the employer. We believe that brainstorming and more consultation would help us establish ourselves as workers,” he says.

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