Joe Thomas Rocks Harare

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[Africa News Update: Music]

Top American R 'n' B singer Joe Thomas staged a thrilling performance here winning the hearts and souls of many with his sing-along tunes in a country hungry for international gigs.

Joe set the stage ablaze with his hit songs –Ghetto Child, Starter and I Don't Wanna Be a Player sending a bevy of beauties at the show wild. Ladies screamed and jostled to get a close glimpse of the star on the stage, at the recent concert.

It was an unforgettable night for many music lovers in Zimbabwe whose prayers for an international gig were answered when the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority managed to bring Joe to the country.

Joe performed before a packed hotel auditorium alongside Zimbabwe music maestro Oliver Mtukudzi, gospel singer Plaxedes Wenyika and young local urban grooves artists Mafriq, Roki and Dino Mudondo.

The mostly youthful audience paid a whooping $200 (Zimbabwe) million, about US$35, for the show. "I think this was the show of the year," said Melany Moyo, a university student. "I really enjoyed the show and I hope he will touch base again. I just want to say: 'I love you Joe, thanks for giving us this musical treat."

Joe arrived in the country last week for a one-off show in the capital. He visited the Victoria Falls, the National Heroes Acre, Harare Kopje, the sprawling ghetto Mbare township and the upmarket Borrowdale Brooke to sample different shades of Zimbabwean life.

"We had a wonderful trip to the Victoria Falls and I would like to say that all those who have not yet visited the resort town are missing a lot. I saw a lot of people from America and Britain and I want to come back to Zimbabwe to visit the Victoria Falls in March or May this year," he said.

"In America we have the Niagara Falls, but it’s not like the Victoria Falls and my message when I return to America is that: 'You got to go and see it for yourself."

ZTA has chosen Joe as the honorary tourism ambassador to Zimbabwe. "We are happy that he has accepted to be our honorary ambassador to Zimbabwe. Our major concern is tourism promotion," ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke said.

Zimbabwe has in the past few years received negative publicity affecting the tourism sector. Travel warnings issued by the US and Britain and other western countries have had a damaging effect on the choice of the country as a tourist destination.

Joe's visit has shored up the country's image and with more international shows, Zimbabwe will retain its position as a major tourist destination.


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