One of our beloved Swazi artist, Mshikishi is said to be surviving with only E2, 000 per month + some meager E240 from elderly grants. He has been in the music business thing for 40 years. Makes me wonder if this speaks for all artists in Swaziland or was his a unique case.
I know he’s probably had peak moments in his career where he’s earned more than E2,240 per month but I can almost bet that averaging it out will yield that same average, which means over the past 40 years he or any artist in his lifetime (in Swaziland) has had to survive with about that much. I take a wild guess and say, these artists have made shy of E1 million in all the 40 years in business.
I could be wrong and I probably am but to think that’s even possible makes one think of all the relatives (especially cousins) who’ve decided to become musicians in Swaziland. I don’t know if it’s growing up or just these numbers that make me start to think like my mother. She used to tell us to get an education first before trying out these things that don’t have a clear future. Music being one of them. She emphasized that such career options are only reserved for kids who came from rich families and had either trust funds or rich parents to fund their lifestyle while “baphusha i-passion”.
I come from a very humble background and I cannot afford to take a gap year, let alone quit my 8 to 5 job for a full time career in music. I am still not sure if I’d even let my kids choose music as their career as long as Swaziland is still struggling economically. Maybe someday things will be different. I seriously hope so. What do you think?