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ARTISTS TRADE UNION TUMAI GEARED TO TRANSFORM THE LIVES OF MUSICIANS

…..AS ZIMURA CONFESSES IGNORANCE OF THEIR LEGITIMATE EXISTANCE.

Tendai A. Sauta Health, Life and Arts Correspondent took some time to talk to Max Musaenga the Chair and Executive for TUMAI. ZIMURA’s Mrs.  Polisile Ncube  Chimhini confesses ignorance of their legitimate existence. She says TUMAI was once headed by the late George Emmanuel and it went into oblivion.

T.S: Take us through TUMAI?

Max:  TUMAI means Trade Union for Musicians and Arts Industry. TUMAI was formed and registered on 15 December 2009 to operate legally in the music and arts industry. We are an affiliate to (FIRM) , International Federation of Musicians based in France.

T.S: What’s your Mission and Vision?

Max: Our Mission is to provide quality effective and efficient service through empowering and advancing the living condition and standards of music and arts workers in Zimbabwe and also to fight piracy. TUMAI’s Vision is to build a conducive, favourable music and arts industry in Zimbabwe where all musicians, arts workers are free from labour exploitation and where they enjoy good living and working conditions.

T.S: What activities did you carry out During This Covid 19 lockdown?

Max:  During this COVID 19 induced lockdown, we were busy educating our members about the dangers of COVID 19 and also encourage them to sell their music online technologies. Technology is moving fast and everyone has to embrace it?

T.S: What Challenges are you facing?

Max: Most recording companies no longer operate due to increased piracy thus limiting chances for artists getting their royalties.  Musicians get their upkeep  from payments and it would mean nonpayment  may mean hupenyu hwese musango. (Shona for all plans have been through into the bush or astray).

T.S: What’s your story with Zimbabwe Music Rights Association?

Max: I need the whole day to explain. First, ZIMURA collects revenues in USD and yet disburses payments in RTGS. Secondly payments are only coming once in a year and thus affecting income gains for the artists.

T.S: What could be the best way forward?

ZIMURA must not pay air play royalties once annually but instead should remit royalties twice or thrice a year. Some musicians never got any airplay on allegations that their music never got played. The least paid artists got 15 bond and it compels us to suggest that another collection agency to complement ZIMURA is long overdue.

T.S: As A Union What Success Stories Do You have?

Max: Mbare Musika was once rife with piracy and it’s now a thing of the past after our intervention. To date our membership stands at 245 as officials registered with TUMAI. We are looking forward to putting up online marketing infrastructure for marketing and selling artistic products.

T.S: Who are the prominent musicians in your Union?

Max: Most prominent artists do not join Unions?

T.S:  Your Closing remarks

Max: There must be transparency on airplay and royalties’ collection modalities, royalties must be paid timeously so that artists can survive.

Some time back I conducted an interview with Ms. Polisile Ncube Chimhini and had this to say.

 T.S: Copyright violations and piracy have been the major culprits to arts and the economy at large, what milestones have you moved so far?

 (A) ZIMURA has been active in reducing the level of piracy in Zimbabwe, we have conducted raids in different provinces with various stakeholders. However, what remains a challenge is the interpretation and implementation of the Copyright Act by the Law enforcement agents like Police and the Judiciary so that deterrent penalties and fines are instituted to infringers of Copyright. 

(T.S) The country; Zimbabwe is going through the Harmonisation of laws; Which laws have been amended in the favour of economic gains of the artist and the generality? And which ones still need to be improved on?

(A) At the moment the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act Chapter 26.05 needs some improvement in terms of specific charges and penalties so that they become more deterrent to discourage Copyright Infringement.

(T.S) What are the main Challenges faced by ZIMURA and how are you going around them as an Organisation.

(A)  The major users of music like Broadcasters are not paying for the Music Copyright Licenses on time and the inflation has negatively impacted ZIMURA’s operations. Ignorance of the Copyright Law by the law enforcement agents is also another challenge experienced by ZIMURA. Copyright infringement is both a criminal and civil offense some of the public music users pay when we institute legal action against them. Concerning Copyright ignorance ZIMURA conducts Copyright capacity building workshops for both our members and law enforcement agents. 

T.S:  Your Closing Remarks?

ZIMURA is the voice of music composers in ZIMBABWE it is our mandate to protect the rights and advance the interests of our members through the enforcement of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act Chapter 26:05. We encourage the music composers out there to use ZIMURA as their information hub for Copyright knowledge and legal assistance when their works are being used without economic benefits. The public music users like bars, shops, retailers, commercial transport, offices, etc. have a legal obligation to obtain a music Copyright License from ZIMURA for playing music publicly to entertain their customers or employees.  

STORY BY TENDAI ABISHA SAUTA 28-07-2020 (0772761139)

THANK YOU. SIYABONGA. Asante. Tatenda.

Je vous remercie 谢谢

Xièxiè

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