On April 20, 2019, President Benny Mayengani had his much anticipated #FillUpPeterMokabaStadium concert, which promised an amazing line up of supporting acts. Although I personally think it was a success, there were major hiccups that threatened the whole do, but eventually and slowly, things ended up taking shape.
The marketing poster, which had been circulating on social media for months now, confirmed the starting time of the concert as 18h00, but by 21h00 hopeful attendees had been waiting outside the stadium for hours while some had already left with their tickets, and there was no sign of any person from Mayengani’s managing team or concert organisers to issue out a word about what the problem was and why gates were still closed. Some security guys issued an unofficial statement that there was a meeting currently taking place inside, and that the possibility of cancellation was on the horizon. This possibility left us in an unease state.
Luckily (I do believe it was by luck), by 21h20 (although Mayengani claims it was 22h00 in his interviews) gates were opened and the lot of us were allowed inside. The turn up was not as anticipated at all, as Mayengani had claimed a few days earlier that computicket has confirmed around 23k ticket sales, which the public is yet to see proof of. All in all, around 400 people occupied the 20k plus Peter Mokaba Stadium, and in all honesty, this number might be a bit of a stretch.
Another hour passed again after the lot of us were let inside the stadium before the opening acts, Sido and Manana took to the stage with their “thiba ntho e monate” local anthem. The start of the concert was really dampened by the long wait and most importantly, by the fact that there was no apology or explanation about the lengthy wait to the start of the concert and the locked stadium gates. Nevertheless, the show went on.
Although not all artists on the line up performed, the ones who respected the audience enough (Unlike Mlindo who claims his contract says whatevs about playing for much less audience which he was paid for) delivered without fail. As sparks flew to the loud cheers by the crowd, Dj Tira, Revolution, Dr Thomas Chauke,Sunglen Chavalala, Henny C, Master KG amongst others took turns entertaining the crowd and all else was forgotten. The highlight of the concert, in my eyes, has to be Zodwa wa Bantu’s performace. Adorned in glittering thongs and bralette and sky high heels, Zodwa told the audience that “siya ferb sonke…nani ni yazi ukuthi masi hamba la ni yo khuphulana na lalana so you must stop saying Zodwa uyi sferb,si ya fana sonke”and proceeded to do what she does best, vosho, and the amazing clean display of her assets as well as singing other people’s songs. By that time the crowd had gone ballistic like when the main franchisee (Or is he the original?) of the #FillUp concept went ballistic on Twitter following the success of Mayengani’s #FillUpGiyaniStadium, accusing the president of stealing his concept and threatening legal action (have you realised Benny abandoned the # in the Fill Up promo car stickers after this debacle?But asikho lapho). The autumn cold had suddenly become slightly warm. Zodwa is hot. I stan. But this isn’t about her.
As expected, soon after the Zodwa wow performance, his highness president Mayengani took to stage at exactly 5h03am, wearing his gold heavyweight boxing outfit, with a matching heavy weight champion belt. Honestly, we expected more from him. Except the fact that he pitched minutes before his performance, which we understand because he was tying the knot in the afternoon of Saturday, he delivered a just about good performance. His performance delivered at least one song from each of his albums, but as the main act, we expected a lengthier performance than the meagre 25 minutes performance he gave. And finally, he said something about the number of people who pitched and cited “sabotage” from the ANC as well as the police turning away buses because they didn’t want his show to be a success. He appreciated the support of those who were present, and said “they will sabotage me, but va nge pfuki va tekile talente ya mina”.But still, there was no apology. This claim went on to dominate the airwaves on Monday morning and afternoon when he was interviewed on both Thobela and Capricorn Fm respectively, still without proof of the claims. We will pretend we believe him.
The Xilumani Group, which was the main sponsor and organiser of the Benny Mayengani #FillUpPeterMokabaStadium concert issued a statement on Monday, April 22nd, more than 24 hours after the almost unsuccessful start of the concert, but much to the public’s disappointment, the statement did not clear much about what really happened on the day of the concert, except mentioning political interference and the intended #ReFillUpGiyaniStadium and a new hotel opening soon.
All in all, the concert, although with a shaky start, ended as a smooth ride. I looked forward to Lekkersweet’s (I am a huge fan) performance but unfortunately he was part of the lot I could not witness. I did however, realise that no matter the circumstance, cancelling a concert is not an option, unless absolutely necessary, and I commend every single one of the artists who delivered stellar performances, it wasn’t easy. The supporters who braved the autumn cold also deserve an applause, a va talangi (pun intended). I believe the wait, albeit long and cold, was worth every cent spent on that R150 ticket. Congratulations to Benny Mayengani, not only on is new marriage, but also, his attempt on making history by trying to fill up Peter Mokaba Stadium. “President Mayengani wa vulavula” about what really happened on Saturday mara na sweswi ahi twi nchumu. Hi tshemba kuri swi ta tshamiseka one day.