And National Arts Council director Maanka Chipindi has advised event organizers and promoters to engage the council before going public about whom they intend to invite into the country.
Last week, Reverend Sumaili told News Diggers! that Somizi would not be allowed to grace the Lusaka July because Zambia does not condone homosexuality.
But in an interview, Friday, Nyambe said there was no official communication from the ministry, insisting that Somizi was PR Girl Media’s preferred guest at the show.
“Okay, who says that he will not be allowed? Because for me now, it is like there is a statement that has been made and that the organization is not aware of it because PR Girls intend to bring Somizi Mhlango and we have laid out an invitation. We have not heard of anything concerning the ministry and we also haven’t heard anything from any authority but you guys seem to have heard,” said Nyambe.
“So if there is anything, give us time, I’m sure by next week, we will have a statement on the way forward. Lusaka July is happening and we have invited Somizi Mhlango, we are waiting whether this will happen or not. Nobody has made any official statement, because the statement would have been made to us. So Lusaka July is happening. And the guest PR Girl Media is considering is Somizi Mhlango.”
And in a separate interview, Chipindi advised promoters to constantly engage the council on whom they intended to invite to their events before going public with the information.
“Before any artist is cleared to come to the country, NAC looks at the national acts which provides guidance on whether they can be cleared or not. For example, Koffi Olomide’s coming to Zambia was not allowed in the country and it was because he had committed an offence in another country. There is a wide range of considerations that we put into place. Regarding Mr Somizi, I cannot really comment, I’m not very familiar with his work, on what he does and doesn’t do, and I was just hearing from the presentations from different stakeholders and I think we are ready to move forward and work out something amicably. And we have made efforts to bring together with the promoters to sensitize them on the national values and principles so as much as possible whenever we engage with them, we are engaged in the understanding,” said Chipindi.
“We have recently engaged discussions with the promoters, PR Girl Media, in consultation with the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs and we are working together on this matter. And in this particular case, we have not even received an application letter from Mr Somizi to come to the country. So we encourage all promoters to get to us much earlier so that even before they go out publicly, they would have already engaged us and we are working together so that we don’t cause any confusion.”
Somizi is an openly gay South African socialite popularly known as an Idols SA judge, choreographer and actor.