By Ntombi Mhlongo
The Covid-19 pandemic has hurt all economic sectors, and the entertainment industry was no exception.
The industry suffered immensely following the intermittent economic lockdowns which came with restrictions on gatherings and hosting of events.
However, the hosting of events during the festive season, in particular, in the last two weeks of the year 2022 gave a signalled that the industry is indeed on the road to recovery.
The positive aspect of the successfully hosted entertainment events showed that while it was all about fun for the attendees of the various events, it was a big financial boost for the DJs and artists who struggled to secure bookings for performances in the last two years because gatherings were prohibited.
During the last two weeks, event organisers and hangout spots hosted events, and the attendance was impressive.
Making things a little bit more interesting were the holidays that were announced by the government.
The Christmas weekend had some of the major hangout spots grabbing the opportunity with both hands as they hosted shows from Thursday till Monday and fun lovers did not disappoint as they came out in their numbers.
The same was witnessed on the weekend meant to usher people into the New Year with major organisers putting up impressive line-ups which compelled some seasoned local DJs to perform at more than three venues in one night.
The country’s major entertainment stable, SwaziBoy hosted an All-White Party at the Albert Millin and the attendees not only came out in numbers but also ensured that they stuck to the theme which was denim and white.
Among the performers was award-winning afro soul star Sands who treated the attendees to a good time. Also in the line-up were old skool DJs including Di Dang, Zakes and Xtra Luv among others.
Judging from the attendance and vibe, it appeared that indeed the entertainment industry has risen from the ashes of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In various interviews with some of the event organisers and owners of popular hangout spots, they stated that they were grateful to be back in business but there was still a long way to recover.
SwaziBoy Entertainment Director Mthunzi ‘Shadow’ Zwane said: “From where I am standing it looks like the industry is recovering, but from a financial aspect it is not. We need corporates to support the industry because we mostly promote their products and use their services most of the time.”
The Xchange Lounge in Manzini also hosted successful shows during the festive season including on New Year’s Eve. When interviewed, its Director Mxolisi ‘Waxola’ Mabuza said it was impressive to see that the attendance is growing. However, he said it will take some time for the entertainment businesses to recover.
“This is because there are many hangout spots that have mushroomed meanwhile our patrons’ buying power has weakened because of the challenges faced by our economy,” Mabuza said.
He highlighted that while it was a positive thing that people are eager to have fun, the challenge is that the hangout spots are forced to close early and that there was a question about the safety of patrons due to the ongoing political unrest in the country.
Meanwhile, Platinum Concepts Director Khulekani ‘DJ Karly B’ Mamba asserted that there is a lot of improvement in the industry but it is still not enough.
“The problem is lack of collaborative effort from the organisers, which resulted in too many events, targeting the same audience thereby splitting the already limited income yet the expenses remain the same,” said Mamba.