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MBABANE - The currents political unrest in the kingdom is causing panic for international artists.

Some South African (SA) artist fear accepting gigs in the country, as they feel currently it’s volatile. It is worth noting that this is the busiest time for the entertainment industry globally, and in the country, especially because the festive season is around the corner. Despite the uncertainty, more shows are taking place every other weekend and bigger international artists gracing our shores. Recently, foreign artists have quite weary over their safety when scheduled to perform in the Kingdom. Artists like K.O, have been mentioned that they aware of the current situation in the country and they traded carefully.


“We have a great relationship with the country, but we are now on high alert immediately after crossing the border,” said the artists’ manager Tsholofelo.  Also, there have been a number of threats directed to these shows like The Epic Gig, which was hosted in June this year. Part of the line-up included five foreign acts namely; Kwesta, Blaq Diamond, Blxckie and Emtee among others. No another event that has been a victim of such threats are the MTN Bushfire Festival, which housed over 4 000 attendees coming from all over the globe. At this very moment, there’s a long list of artists from across the borders that are scheduled to perform in the country between this weekend and December.

Another recent example was when popular musician and former Idols judge Unathi Nkayi got backlash for visiting the Royal family premises. The singer was in the country for a private royal ceremony which was held at one of the royal residences. Her arrival was confirmed by Director of Communications in the King’s Office Percy Simelane, in an interview after the news broke about the artist being in the kingdom. In her Instagram post reviewing her trip, Nkayi received over 800 000 comments with most Emaswati nationals expressing negativity about her visit, she later took down the post.


The tension in the country has created a visible unease and fear among these artists because of such behaviors. Event organisers like Sakhile Nkambule, who is the Director at Swazi Jive Entertainment and Hipnotik Founder, mentioned that there was just that extra effort in assurance that they needed to give to artists, but they maintain a strict policy not to focus on the negatives but for people to manifest what they want. The Epic Gig Festival Director, Tammy Dlamini, mentioned that they were very cautious and on high alert. They had national security forces and over 200 private security personnel from four different companies, and that was something that was shared with the artists, the show was a success despite the threats they received on social media.

When reached for comment, Deputy Police Relations Officer Inspector Nosipho Mnguni said: “The police have a mandate and they respect it. To protect life and property. This is what they dream and eat 24/7, hence artists should be assured that proper safety measures will always be taken to ensure that criminal activities were minimal.” This was after Mnguni was asked how are the security forces in the country are assuring the artists safety.At the recent DJ Tira’s birthday celebration in Manzini, a brief scramble happened, which spooked part of the artist’s team members, and when they were asked why they looked fearful, they mentioned that they knew about the current state of affairs in the country. They were on high alert, but as it turned out it was not a riot, but rowdy individuals who were trying to enter the venue violently and for free.    

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