Another Nelson Mandela Bay concert fiasco

The gates to the eMandulo Cultural and Music Festival at the Central Fields in Uitenhage were open on Saturday afternoon, but after hours of waiting patrons realised the much anticipated concert was not going to happen
The gates to the eMandulo Cultural and Music Festival at the Central Fields in Uitenhage were open on Saturday afternoon, but after hours of waiting patrons realised the much anticipated concert was not going to happen

Music fans were left disappointed at the weekend after yet another failed festival in Nelson Mandela Bay.

People who bought tickets for the eMandulo Cultural and Music Festival are demanding refunds for the cancelled Uitenhage show.

Event organiser Mvuzo Mtyhobile told the artists who were meant to perform only after 8pm on Saturday that the event had been cancelled.

However, on Sunday, he promised those who had bought tickets that they would be refunded.

“People who bought tickets can go to Shoprite and get a full refund for the tickets they bought,” Mtyhobile said.

By 7.30pm on Saturday there was still no stage or sound equipment for the festival, which was meant to have started at 2pm, at the Uitenhage Central Fields.

By then, cars lined Lower Drostdy Street and patrons already inside had started singing struggle songs as there was no music to keep them entertained.

Taking to social media, those who had bought tickets wrote on the festival’s Facebook page demanding answers.

Lee Kiviet wrote: “We are here since 3.30pm and the stage is not even here. We want our money [back].”

Pumeza Meza said she was disgusted by what was happening.

“Can someone man up and tell us what is happening,” she wrote.

“The organisers have undermined the people of Uitenhage and surrounding areas.”

Furious concertgoer Zoleka Mizu Mntanga wrote: “What’s happening here now is bulls**t.

“It’s 5.11pm but there’s no stage — nothing.

“Please, I need my refund now.”

Facebook user Amanda Sikalika wrote the only thing that ensured she was still there was the R200 she had paid to attend the event.

Next time you’re not getting my money,” she said.

“This is so not on [because] we arrived early for the event and you’re only setting up the stage at 8.25pm.

“I was about to get home but I thought of my money I paid.”

This is not the first time people in Nelson Mandela Bay have been let down with the cancellation of shows.

In 2015, a comedy event linked to the Nelson Mandela Bay Cultural Festival was cancelled.

The festival was meant to take place at the Boardwalk and the municipality also pulled out of the event after having paid R3.5m.

US singer Kenny Lattimore also withdrew from the event.

In 2012, the Mbay Megafest  — meant to rope in US R & singer Ne-Yo and rapper Ludacris — was indefinitely postponed.

In 2009, the municipality sponsored R300,000 towards the Bay Summer Concert where  Busta Rhymes  was meant to perform.

He arrived late and only about 500 people pitched up.

Later that year, the Nelson Mandela Bay International Music Festival which was to showcase artists such as Keri Hilson was cancelled due to lack of funds.

On Saturday, concertgoers were not the only ones kept in the dark about  whether the festival would go ahead or not.

Artists meant to perform for the Afrocentric-themed cultural festival included   maskandi award-winning Shwi no Mthekala and Nomdakazana; Port Elizabeth’s Ami Faku; Lady Zamar; gospel sensation Rebecca Malope; dance music vocalist Dladla Mshunqisi; and house musician Professor.

Just hours before the event, Professor was seen at the Endaweni Lounge in KwaNobuhle, while Mshunqisi was detailing  his journey to Uitenhage on his Instagram.

Noluthando Malope, Malope’s manager, confirmed on Sunday they had arrived in Uitenhage on Saturday.

“We were there.

“It was cancelled, according to our knowledge, at about 8pm,” she said.

“He [Mtyhobile]  gave us the reasons but I wouldn’t divulge what he said to us.

“There were just some issues that were out of his control and he did explain to us.

“In terms of everything else, he handled it well.”

Asked if they had been paid, she said: “He did everything he should’ve.

“He handled everything professionally and no artists had issues, everything was handled as per our individual specs.”

Mshunqisi’s manager, Samkelo Mpisane, said Mtyhobile had told them the show had been sabotaged, which was why they could not perform.

“When we arrived at our accommodation, I kept on calling him and asking what’s going on and he said he’d get back to me.

“Our performance time was 10pm and, when the time came, he said the event was no longer carrying on because it was being sabotaged,” Mpisane said.

Ami Faku and Mafikizolo’s managers declined to comment.

Mtyhobile claimed on Sunday that the eMandulo Cultural and Music had been sabotaged.

“I received a WhatsApp message from someone telling me that they had been told tickets for the show had been sold out,” he said.

“I immediately phoned Computicket and was told tickets were still available.

“This supported my assertion that this was sabotage.

“Someone I know also gave me a call and told me that I had been blacklisted and that people did not want my show to succeed.

“When I asked what he meant by blacklisted, he did not give me an answer,” Mtyhobile said.

He added the sound and stage equipment had arrived only after 8pm.

“We didn’t expect the stage to arrive when it did,” he said.

Asked what time the stage and sound equipment were meant to arrive, he would not give a time.

In 2018, the eMandulo festival had sold 6,000 tickets, which had made some members of the local entertainment industry jealous, he said.

However, he declined to say how many tickets had been sold for Saturday’s failed event.

“It pains me that people sacrificed their time and they were very patient with us.

“A lot of people were looking forward to the event.”

Mtyhobile said he would take the blame for what had transpired.

“I take full responsibility for what happened on Saturday.”

However he said Saturday was not the funeral of eMandulo  and promised that those who had bought tickets would get 50% off their ticket prices in 2020.

“We’re not going anywhere.

“We will come back stronger.

“We are not shaken,” Mtyhobile said.


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