…local artists speak out
By Bahle Gama
It is every artist’s dream to have their craft recognised worldwide. Some go to an extent of renouncing their citizenship.
A question was sent to local artists residing in and outside Eswatini, on whether they would relinquish their citizenship for fame and the responses were inconclusive as many were unsure.
However, a lot needs to be done in the art industry in Eswatini because several artists believe throwing in the towel is an inevitable decision in the long run.
In response to the question, R&B sensation Carrency stated that he believes that artists should stay in their home country and build their industry, however, “it is demotivating to be talented and not be able to make a living out of your talent.”
Therefore, the artist does not blame those who end up renouncing their citizenship in foreign countries.
“Countries like South Africa have numerous opportunities and the industry is regulated, hence the attraction it gets from artists in countries like Eswatini,” he said.
He further stated that in the neighbouring country, a young person could drop a song today and the following day it will be trending everywhere because the environment allows for such growth and presents opportunities.
“Of course, it goes hand in hand with hard work, but the industry should also be accommodating, and we have a very long way to go as Eswatini. So we should not judge those who are too ambitious and want to be the best in the industry, at whatever cost,” said Carrency.
He was echoed by DJ! Sooks is currently residing in South Africa where he is also pursuing a degree in sound engineering. He responded that he would not renounce his citizenship for fame because he believes his craft should do the talking for him.
“Right now, I don’t think I will renounce it, as much as Eswatini doesn’t have much to offer me, it is still my identity, it is who I am. I can’t imagine doing that right now because of deals and exposure. I believe I can do that if I’m good and work hard in my craft,” he said.
He stated that he did not think his citizenship would determine and restrict him from soaring higher, after all, he is where he is today because of the work he is doing.
“I’m already based in SA and the plans of coming back to Eswatini are very slim to zero. Not in a bad way or anything, especially at the level I’m at in my career. There is not enough for me to do there, I am confined compared to this side (SA),” he said.
!Sooks stated that his craft requires that he networks more, meet people, and put himself in the scene, which is something that Eswatini does not offer him at the moment, adding that it was one of the major reasons he moved to South Africa.
He clarified that he would come to Eswatini for gigs and to visit his family. Another who opted to comment on the condition of anonymity vehemently agreed that he would relinquish his citizenship in a heartbeat.
“Why not, as long as my craft will be growing and I’ll be getting the exposure I need and deserve, I would definitely renounce my citizenship,” he said.
He stated that the country’s art industry was lacking in so many aspects that talented people end up being demotivated and giving up when it should not be the case.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love my country and being Swati, but when it comes to my craft, I’m not even getting the bare minimum, no matter how hard we try to put myself out there, as young artists we do not have the backup we need in this industry,” he added.
According to reports, famous artist Tina Turner renounced her American citizenship to become a Swiss national. In 2009, acclaimed actor Jet Li renounced his U.S. citizenship to move to Singapore because of the education system.
In 2022, singer Billie Joe Armstrong announced that he was relinquishing his citizenship. The U.S. government had passed a law he did not agree with.