Bongani Ndlovu, Sunday News Correspondent

THE Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa has urged Zimbabweans to unite as they tune into the Anti-Sanctions Virtual Gala tonight in the comfort of their homes and send a clear message for their unconditional removal.

Due to Covid-19 regulations, the gala will be held virtually with no audience as people will watch it from home or their smart devices.

Minister Mutsvangwa said this during a rehearsal session by musicians at the Rainbow Hotel, in Bulawayo, the venue of the virtual gala.

It  will be beamed live on ZBCtv after the main news at 8 pm.

The Gala will also be broadcast live on the ZBCtv, Zimpapers Television Network and Heritage Tv Facebook pages.

Zimbabwe has been under illegal sanctions for the past 20 years following the successful land reform exercise at the turn of the millennium.

The 25th of October was set aside by the SADC bloc as a day to call for the unconditional removal of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States and its allies.

This year’s Anti-Sanctions theme is: “Resilience, Progress and Solidarity under an environment of sanctions.”

Before Minister Mutsvangwa addressed the small crowd comprised mostly of artistes at the venue, she joined gospel musicians minister Mahendere Senior and Baba Mechanic Manyeruke, Afro Jazz exponent Jeys Marabini on stage during their rehearsals. She danced to their music showing off nimble feet on all three occasions.

During her brief address, Minister Mutsvangwa said it was an honour for Zimbabwe to have support from SADC for the removal of the illegal sanctions.

“This is an opportunity; we should all be united and call for the unconditional removal of these illegal economic sanctions.  We love you; we love our Zimbabwean artistes; we thank everybody that has made this possible.

“We are ready to roll for the e-Gala tonight. The preparations are here, all your favourite musicians, the artistes are all here tonight, all the way into tomorrow to commemorate the anti-sanctions day, 25 October, which was set aside by Heads of State and Government of SADC.

“What an honour for Zimbabwe, this is a special day, historic indeed. So as Zimbabweans lets switch on our TVs, go online and watch beautiful, beautiful music to commemorate the 25th of October,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

She said Zimbabweans should join hands and dance from the comfort of their homes.

“Zimbabweans please don’t forget, after news, right after news, the e-Gala; we are right here at Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo. It’s unfortunate because of Covid-19, this is virtual and we are saying please switch on your TVs in the comfort of your homes and watch and dance to the beautiful music,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

Thirty musical acts, among them Jeys Marabini, Sandra Ndebele, Iyasa, Jah Master, Enzo Ishall, Minister Mahendere, Madlela Skhobokhobo, Selmor Mtukudzi and Judgement Yard will be part of the gala.

Other artistes who are billed to perform are Sniper Storm, Diamond Música, Progress Chipfumo, Juntal, Allan, Tryson and Douglas Chimbetu, Chief Hwenje, Mechanic Manyeruke, Mzoe7, Hwabaraty, Bolamba Culture Birds, Kireni Zulu, LMG Choir, Poptain/Allana, Franco Dhaka Slomo, Peter Moyo, Bruce Machingura, Irene Mutangadura, minister Mahendere Senior, Sweet Moby and Vimbai Zimuto.