Limpopo artists team up with municipality, police against piracy

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The group, which includes big local names like reggae artist Colbert Mukwevho and music promoter Johnny Khubana, have already succeeded in getting rid of pirated CDs and DVDs in Thohoyandou and its surrounding townships and villages.

"We acted and we are winning. We have managed to clean the town of piracy," said Khubana, who heads the movement.

Khubana, whose company JTK Entertainment manages many local artists and sponsors Muswange (punch-up) boxing matches in Limpopo, said artists had become poor due to the scourge of piracy.

"What once used to be a booming business has gone to the dogs. [The pirates] eat while we starve. We could not just watch and pretend as if everything was normal," he said.

"Piracy has become like a plaque in the country and has led to the entire music industry almost shutting down. Many music outlets have closed down and many artists have opted out of the trade as they are starving," said Khubana. "Everywhere you look you see CDs being sold for as little as R5. We are putting an end to this."

Khubana said the artists managed to confiscate more than 15 000 fake CDs and DVDs in a period of two weeks.

To bolster the movement's efforts, Khubana recently organised a free music festival in Thohoyandou, where artists appealed to community members to help them win the fight against piracy.

The show attracted thousands of spectators, who vowed to fight piracy. The campaign was in partnership with the Thulamela local municipality, police and a private security company, First Professional Car.

"The security company has eight specially trained security officers who know how to deal with piracy. We are now just waiting for big companies in Gauteng to commission us to look after our own work, which is being sold in the streets illegally," said Khubana.

Mukwevho, who is known as VhoMukwevho in the music industry, welcomed the move.

"This movement shows the outside world that as artists, we are united against piracy and we will continue fighting for what is rightfully ours until we win the war," said Mukwevho.

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