South Africa-based Zimbabwean songstress Berita Khumalo has been appointed to the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA) board.
Berita’s appointment makes her the youngest board member and only the second Zimbabwean after Sipho Dlamini, the CEO of Universal Music.
At the same time, Zimbabwean jazz musician and bassist Edith WeUtonga has been elected as vice-president of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM).
The International Federation of Musicians is a global non-profit which serves musicians and their unions across the world and We Utonga, who is also the Zimbabwe Musicians Union president, becomes the first black woman to get the role.
Khumalo said of her appointment, “Today I take a seat at the RISA table, I have been appointed as a board member of the RISA. I am looking forward to getting acquainted with RISA at a board level. This seat affords me the opportunity to contribute to the present and future of our industry.
“As a young black female artiste and independent record label owner this is a big win. We are in! We are within! We are inside!”
Being the only black female on the board will give her an opportunity to influence key issues that affect the South African recording industry.
“My aspiration is that women be seen, valued, paid and played (equally as men) in our industry. Women are capable of being excellent musicians, artistes, sound engineers, songwriters, composers, managers, executives and directors,” she added.
The guitar player is the founder of Women of the Music Business Africa, a non-profit organisation which connects opportunities and builds programmes that empower women in the music business across the continent.
WOMB Africa recently partnered Wits Business School and the Sony Global Justice Fund to sponsor the second edition of the Finance for Social Entrepreneurs virtual online course, which seeks to educate female artists on financial literacy, philanthropy and social investment.
Khumalo is also causing a stir in her core business of music, and she was recently nominated in the Rest of Africa category at the virtual 27th edition of the South African Music Awards for her album Songs in the Key of Love. Also nominated in that category are continental heavyweights, Wiz Kid, Davido, Sauti Sol and fellow countryman, Buffalo Souljah.
Joining her on the RISA board are Sean Watson (Sony Music) Manusah Sarawan (Sony Music), Tracy Fraser (Warner Music), Arthur Mafokate (999 Music), Major Majoro (Hola Boy Shoboy), Jerry Koma (Wachumlilo Records), Nhlanhla Sibisi (Risa), Jody Farber (Warner Music), Thobela Dlamini (Afrotainment), Andrew Mitchlev (David Gresham), Thabiso Khati (Universal Music) and Rob Cowling, (Gallo Music).
On her part, Edith WeUtonga said of her FIM appointment: “I am humbled and honored by my election to the vice-presidency of International Federation of Musicians. My work as the president of the Zimbabwe Musicians’ Union has reflected on the nomination and election as this is where it all began.
“Whilst there is still a lot of ground to cover in the Zimbabwe chapter, I take the FIM elevation with much gusto as it is a step in the right direction to gaining much needed global trends, experience and expertise which I can channel back my Zimbabwe counterparts.”
WeUtonga went on: “Music is a multi-billion dollar industry with many facets and its practitioners are the very people whose welfare remains my goodwill in the bigger picture of this context.
“As I face this new chapter of what is really turning out to be an interesting journey in my interaction with music – my passion – I ask for all stakeholder support and promise to continue to keep my eye on the ball, aware that there is still a long way to go to getting even the slightest of what we desire for musicians around the world.”
She joins Beat Santchi (Switzerland), Anders Laursen (Denmark), Ray Hair (USA) and Horace Trubridge (UK) on the FIM board.
Reporting by Khotso Maama in Maseru, Leroy Dzenga in Harare & Thando Mnkandhla in Windhoek