The Minister of Information and Publicity, Webster Shamhu, made the stunning revelation at a meeting held at his Munhumutapa offices to discuss ways of fighting music piracy in the country.
“Piracy is a cancer in the arts industry. It is pleasing to note that major stakeholders in the arts industry are here today. Pirated products are now being sold at every street corner with no proceeds going to the intellectual property owners. Recently, we lost one of our artists, Tongai Moyo, whose family is now finding it difficult to make ends meet whilst pirates benefit from his music,” said Shamhu who is also a patron of the Zimbabwe Music Union.
“To add salt to injury his funeral video has also been pirated and is being sold for $1 for three copies of the CD.”
A 30-minute documentary featuring Dhewa’s life and his struggle against cancer was made by his friends as a way of raising awareness on the deadly cancer disease and support his family.
The documentary which was made with the help of musicians such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Sulumani Chimbetu, First Farai and Culture Fund among others was expected to help sustain Moyo’s family with 50 percent of the proceeds going to the family’s upkeep.
But it is now one of the hottest pirated products.
Dhewa leaves behind a wife, Minenhle Mukweli, and six children.
“Ladies and gentleman you can imagine how popular Tongai Moyo was. Can you imagine his contribution to the music industry in this country? Would you ever have thought that is family would wallow in poverty just two months after his death? This sad scenario has been brought about by piracy. In countries where intellectual property rights are respected, artists and their families lead affluent lifestyles.”
Tongai Moyo died a poor man. He had sold most of the wealth that he had acquired to pay for his medical debts. Dhewa was forced to sell his two cars – a Nissan Presage and Madza BT50 twin cab worth $7 500 and US$6 000 respectively- three days before he died.
His son had to use his initial shows after the death of his father to pay his credits. Moyo owed several promoters thousands of dollars that he had been paid in advance as a way of helping him meet his medical costs.