The sudden death of jazz maestro, Soares Katumbela has attracted pledges to the tune of P40,000 towards the upcoming Francistown Jazz Festival.
This comes after the festival was postponed two days to the D-day of the much-anticipated inaugural jazz festival. The organisers, Streethorn Promotions Company, decided to postpone the event once again, till further notice.
The festival, which was supposed to be headlined by South African Jazz legends, Jonathan Gwangwa and Ringo Madlingozi, was initially billed for April 7 at the Francistown Old Stadium. It was postponed after Katumbela announced that they failed to garner sponsors to cover the costs.
The organisers later resumed activations in June that were meant to lead up to the fest that was supposed to be held last weekend. A new date for the festival that twines with the second city’s 120 years jubilee celebrations on September 9 was set. The Streethorn activations announced a number of new corporates in their sponsorship line up adding to the eight already on board.
Speaking at Katumbela’s funeral at Phomolong Cemetery on Saturday, Member of Parliament for Francistown East, Buti Billy said every person in the city was looking forward to the jazz festival. He said he believed that the jazz festival was going to bring life to the city.
“The Katumbela family owned a shop known as Ko Ga Mawillies. It was a one-stop shop. It sold everything and was the hottest joint in the city. It brought life to Francistown and all this was because of Katumbela (Soares). Music can bring life, employment and love to people. The reason why the youth are exposed to crime and other social ills is because they do not have recreational places,” he said.
He added that Katumbela attributed to the development of Francistown and the country’s music industry. He said the deceased defined Francistown.
“People might have thought that Katumbela was going to benefit from the event. That was not the case. The money raised at the event was going to develop our town and the remaining profits would have been used to pay artists, as they do not perform for free. Katumbela was a selfless man that is why I pledge P10,000, Shima Monageng has also pledged the same and assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Phillip Makgalemele has pledged P20,000. I urge Batswana to pledge whatever they can to ensure that Katumbela’s death was not in vein,” he said.
According to Beata Kasale of The Voice newspaper, Katumbela was a resilient person. She added that he had a lot of friends.
“When I heard of his passing, it did not sit well with me. For a man that has done so much for the local jazz music, he passed on in a painful way. He persevered until the last day. Maybe we will never know what happened that day, but I know he was frustrated. Let’s not let Katumbela’s death be in vain. Perhaps we have not been there for him,” she said.
Kasale further explained that it must always be remembered that showbiz is a life of many artists. She said for other artists, their lives and those of their children depended on showbiz. She said Katumbela had been through the worst in showbiz.
Local artists, friends and Katumbela’s colleagues at Duma FM vowed to make the festival a success and continue promoting jazz music in the country.