Popular television performing artist, Pretty Xaba, who is suffering from esophageal cancer says Zimbabwe should protect artists who are reduced to paupers when they fall sick as they are not fully looked after by some promoters and producers.
In an exclusive interview with VOA Studio7, Xaba said she is expected to undergo medical attention in India if her colleagues and well-wishers manage to raise the $10,000 needed for her surgery.
Xaba said her colleagues, who include some of the country's best singers, performing artiste and comedians, among others, are giving up their time to conduct free concerts to fund raise money for her treatment.
She said some media houses like the Sunday Mail was also working with her promoter, Taonga Mafundikwa, in fund-raising efforts.
Some non-profit organisations in the diaspora, which include the Jenny Msonza Foundation and Dandaro Remadzimai Anhasi of which Xaba is part of, are also engaged in fund-raising efforts.
Despite appearing in various television soaps, Xaba said she was not paid for most of her television appearances.
"Most of the work that I did paid me enough to live from hand to mouth. I was not able to save and hope that there are laws soon enacted to protect the rights of those in the performing arts," said Xaba.
She featured prominently in corporate advertisements and the television show, Studio 263, and is viewed in the country as a celebrity.
Xaba, almost breaking into a sob, said she is humbled by the efforts being made by her well wishers worldwide to fundraise for her treatment and is touched by the outpouring of love she is receiving.
She recounted how she was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and given various options which included the surgery in India which she said was the best for her particular case of cancer.
"The doctors informed me that the surgery could not be done locally as the cancer is in a very delicate place that needs specialist treatment and my family and friends sought a second opinion in India where they said they could do the surgery," added Xaba.
Xaba is among hundreds of people in the country suffering from cancer who can hardly access treatment at local hospitals.
The Cancer Association of Zimbabwe says the most prevalent cancer observed among patients in Zimbabwe is cervical cancer.
According to statistics obtained from the Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry, the total number of cancer cases recorded among Zimbabweans in 2007 was 3,349, with 42.7% (1,431 cases) observed among males, and 57.3% (1,918) among females.
Among females, the Registry indicates that cervical cancer (33%) is the leading cancer, with breast cancer (9.9%) and Kaposi’s sarcoma (9.3%) – a type of skin cancer that usually develops as a result of advanced HIV infection – second and third respectively.