Jam Sandwich: The Zuluboy Saga

Is Zuluboy's behaviour just another example of unprofessionalism in the industry or is he being unfairly punished for an honest mistake?

The season finale of Jam Sandwich on SABC 2, Tuesdays at 10, was a show to watch this past week. I didn't get to see the actual episode on Tuesday but was able to catch the repeat tonight at 11h30. 

The show is about putting two artists from different genres together to collaborate on one song (in a nutshell). This week those two artists were zulu rapper, Zuluboy and afrikaans musician Gerhard Steyn who were collaborating on a song they called AfriZulukaans. 

The song seemed like it would be an awesome track until the drama.

Firstly Gerhard asked Zuluboy to come and perform with him at a gig he was doing and he agreed. On the night of the show, Zuluboy was a no-show. 

The following day when they were supposed to record the track in Newtown, Zuluboy was a no-show (again) for two hours so a decision was made to bring in a replacement. Nkuli Dube was called, came in and the show went on. 

A while later Zuluboy shows up and says he had lost his phone and he got lost getting to Newtown. Now it was a precarious (or as Nkuli put it "awkward") situation with Gerhard and her having worked on a new song and now Zuluboy expecting to continue with what he and Gerhard had worked on prior. 

Zuluboy apologised for having wasted everyone's time and walked out of the studio when Leon (the producer) made it apparent to him that he will no longer be part of the track.

The Star

The debate on what happened has been going on on the show's Facebook page. Some feel Zuluboy was unprofessional and should be given the boot while others feel he deserves a second chance. 

A selective few went on a tirade, blaming Nkuli Dube for agreeing to replace Zuluboy on the show. Seems the latter have never heard of the phrase; "the show must go on". 

Of course, others made it a race issue - 'white people are trying to make black people look bad' - Guess this bunch can't have an opinion without dragging race into it. Atleast the majority kept on debating the situation and not race.

Nkuli Dube - The Substitute

This situation with Zuluboy highlighted a problem that is plaguing our industry. What happened with Zuluboy having to loose his phone was unfortunate and one can never really deem him unprofessional without knowing exactly what happened for him not to show up at Gerhard's concert. 

However for him to say, on camera nogal, that he was lost to get to the studio in Newtown hence he was late is a bit ridiculous. This is Zuluboy, has he never been to Newtown before? Has he never been to Bassline? 

Every musician in this country who has ever performed in Joburg knows where Bassline is. I empathised with him until he made that feeble excuse about being lost. The phone situation is understandable, it happens to all of us.

Zuluboy's situation aside, I mean it wouldn't be fair to put all this on him, however it has happened one too many times where our artists act like they just do not care about being professional. During the world cup rehearsals I was appalled at the total disregard for professionalism that some of our artists showed.

While Shakira who is a worldwide superstar showed up to rehearsals on time with all of her dancers, our artists showed up late and complained the entire time. Now we wonder why other artists make more money than we do. Respect is very important in this business. 

Time is money, and when you show up late at an appointment or do not pitch at all without making any means to inform the other party that you will not make it, you not only being unprofessional but you disrespecting the other person as well and costing him money.

Diva tantrums; Zuluboy walks out

If the race card pulling bunch want to bring race into this, they should consider this. A poignant moment occured during this episode when Zuluboy visited Gerhard's house. You could see that he was clearly in awe of what he saw. 

Zuluboy probably is more famous than Gerhard but clearly Gerhard is making more money than him. There are many factors to that but one thing we all know is that white musicians are very professional and their fans reward them by supporting them all the way. 

Afrikaans musicians still outsell black ones by a huge margin. While our artist struggle to fill a club, a solo white artist can fill Carnival city auditorium.

Lira, who is likely the hardest working artist in this country, was able to achieve that by being the professional that she is. You go to her concert or any of her performances and you can see that she put an effort in the whole act. 

Her dancers, band and everything that goes into the show is always on point. AND Mzansi rewards her for that, hence she is breaking record sales.

These stories of people not showing up for shoots or recording are becoming a common trend and they need to stop as they are not helping anyone but only hurting black artists' reputations and diminishing their credibility among their peers.

Gerhard tries to reason with him...

Zuluboy apologised for his mistakes and the episode ended with a cliffhanger. Will Zuluboy endup doing the song with Gerhard or will Nkuli replace him for good on the colab? You will have to tune in next week Tuesday to find out. 

One thing for sure, the drama made good television. You can not buy that kind of publicity and surely more people will be watching the show next week just to see what happens, I know I will. We loved Zuluboy's colab with Louise Carver on the track "Warrior". 

Who knows maybe "AfriZuluKaans" will be just as huge? Rad bro Rad!

The Apology

Sidebar: Nhlanhla Nciza also showed up late in one of the Jam Sandwich episode when she was collaborating with Yvonne Chaka Chaka but ended up doing the song anyway. HINT!!!

pics by: Jacqui Van Staden (with the exception of the front page pic)

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