By Royce Mapaike
TRADITION has it that in the past a woman’s place was in the home. She was under the tutelage, first of her father and then of her husband. Her main duties were to be a wife and a mother where she was supposed to man the home. Women were therefore trained to become good and submissive wives as the primary goal was for them to get married. Education was secondary and getting employed was not an option for women.
If a woman escaped the homely duties to become an artiste or do some other things that were not in the parameters of manning a home it was an exception to the rule.
Today there are many women artistes although there are a few great female creative artistes that have been identified worldwide.
Edith WeUtonga Katiji is one of the females who continues to be identified with the art industry as she believes that art is communicating the inner soul, telling your own stories to the world through art something she said she had come to appreciate not just as a pastime but a livelihood.
Being a first born in a family of five and bred in Bulawayo, the gifted artiste,a mother to many;an award winning musician and actress. A sister,an activist. A passionate person. An activist holding a BSc Hons Music Business Degree and about to finish my Masters with the University of London.
Leader of the Zimbabwe Musicians Union and advise the women’s desk.
Edith said she realised she was good in art when she was only five years. She is also a brand ambassador for Cell Insurance, Trustee of ZimHeart Trust (matters of people with heart conditions) and direct Zawadi Development Trust.
“Professionally I started at Amakhosi in 2000 where I arrived auditioning to be in a jazz band but found myself being cast in a TV drama series Sinjalo (Sakhamuzi/Foromani) and onto the theatre stage. Everything happened concurrently” she said.
“In 2004, I was part of the all female project Amakhosikazi and my role there was to be the lead singer, compose music and arrange. It was while we were stuck on our way back from Hwange that I stumbled upon the bass guitar and realised actually I compose music from bass first. And thus my guitar playing started,” further explained the bassist,singer and songwriter.
Bulawayo-born songstress Edith “Weutonga” Katiji in an interview with Exquisite Entertainment Whatsapp Group chat platform said the industry needs strong and focused and staying true to your art.
“Getting into art was really hard for me the biggest challenge as a female musician is being talked down, your efforts being down played and being shown you can’t achieve without a man by your side and in your bed.
“The reason why female artistes don’t last is that society has expectations of women. I was in a band where 10 put of 13 were single, young, attractive women. And along the way came our husbands, and with that the in laws and subsequent drop outs from the band” she further explained
“Once you decide this is what I am going to do, then do it right. What do I mean? No short cuts, stay clean by all means and be true to your art. It’s a long way but a winning way,” she added.
She mentioned that even though she was slowly getting into the art world it was not easy for most women as they have a challenge in penetrating the industry.
“There are few women even though I believe that we are equally as good as men. Well I believe that in order for women to make it there they should be tough and strong in the art world because it’s a tough world for them. But I do want to go to that world, because it’s beautiful in its way and challenging, it’s like climbing a mountain,” she said.
WeUtonga said she is hoping to inspire the young in future and by using her artistic skills she has a number of up and coming artists that she as groomed.
“We actually have a lot of female musicians, well groomed and doing all their best to bud but it’s a tough road. The few that are given the opportunity either so not live that long to sustain or they remain the same. While promoters will give someone who has never been a singer a chance, for female musicians that occurrence might just never happen
She added that female students should not be discouraged by their parents’ choices but should strive to do what they know best. She also encouraged parents not to stand in the way of their children’s professional choices but rather advise and support them.
Being a mother of five. Three boys and two girls.
Philani 20, Mudiwa & Tafadzwa (Twins (11), Madalitso 7, Mudadisi 6 and married to Farai Elton, Edith always gets the inspiration and support from her family.
“The playing field is not level and so women put in an extra effort for them to be renowned and more is required for opportunities, therefore if one does not have a good support system it is easy for her to be compromised, taken advantage of and still not get paid or get far,” Weutonga said. – Exquisite Entertainment
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