WITH Covid-19 still continuing to wreak havoc in the livelihoods of artists, KZN music group leaders have teamed up to form an organization aimed at assisting their backing vocalists. Grammy-award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo and other prominent artists maskandi legend Zibokwakhe “Phuzekhemisi” Mnyandu, Shabalala Rhythm, Sandile “Sandy B” Bhengu, Pinky Mabaso and Bongani Shongwe have established the Backing the BackUp Artists (BBA) initiative with the purpose of assisting backing singers with relief during this time of need.
“As group leaders, we are struggling to make ends meet during this time due to the country still being under strict Covid-19 regulations but our thoughts were with our backing vocalists who rely on live stage performances to make a living. With shows still not permissible at a large scale, most are not making any income. We thought we should seek support on their behalves,” commented Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s Sibongiseni Shabalala.
BBA knocked on many doors to seek support and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and SA Food Harvest heeded the call and supported with food parcels for 551 families. “This is just a start, from Durban we will go to various other places in the province to help artists there and we hope, with more support, we can reach the rest of the country,” said Sibongiseni.
– Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s Sibongiseni – Shabalala handing out food parcels
Sibongiseni Shabalala and Phuzekhemisi standing next to SA Food Harvest and IDC representatives
– Ladysmith Black Mambazo performing for the audience