[email protected] Awards, another fly-by-night event

The mention of awards no longer triggers goose-bumps in the country’s arts circles – as most awards that have graced the sector are poorly-organised, ill-funded, biased or a direct insult to the great names they intend to honour.

ICT Minister Webster Shamu: a question of someone sleeping on duty?
ICT Minister Webster Shamu: a question of someone sleeping on duty?

The [email protected] Music Gala Awards were no exception. Held at the majestic Harare International Conference Centre in 2012, the Awards came at a time when the arts fraternity was in desperate need of events of such magnitude.

This was the time when the National Arts Merit Awards was the only surviving awards ceremony in the country.

Established in respect of President Robert Mugabe to honour outstanding musicians, these presidential awards were highly funded by top corporate and parastatals while the nomination process was done transparently – unlike the NAMA awards. Fans were asked to vote for their favourite artists via SMS. The inaugural ceremony saw the king of sungura Alick “Baba Sharo” Macheso as the Best Overall Act. He walked away with $1,000 prize money and a DStv full set.

Peter “Young Igwee” Moyo scooped $750 and a DStv full set and gospel diva Mercy Mutsvene pocketed $750 in third position.

Voters were also given something to sing home about as two lucky winners were showered with a holiday vacation at some of the best hotels in the country. The first winner won a chance to spend two nights for two at AZambezi Hotel in Victoria Falls and $500 spending money whereas the second winner spend two nights for two at Ancient City Hotel in Masvingo and $300 spending money.

While the awards failed to honour a sizable number of musicians, they were expected to introduce several categories as the ceremony was to unfold annually. Considering the calibre of top political figures that were present at the inaugural ceremony coordinated by former Information Minister Webster Shamu, many artists had faith in the longevity of the awards.

Not to mention that they were coined in respect of the highest office in the country. That in itself was regarded as a guarantee for future funding. Little did artists know that it was just another fly-by-night event.

As three years have passed since the one and only ceremony was held, it has become apparent that their hopes were founded on mere sand. Not only does it cast a negative image of the figure it sought to honour, it also broke its own record of becoming a once-off award ceremony in the history of the arts sector. Though efforts to revive ZIMA awards have reached pitch fever high, the ceremony is still marred by technical glitches as they have been postponed to October 29 from October 3.

The last held NAMA awards came under heavy criticism from arts pundits, artists and fans for what was perceived as high levels of biased towards both the nominated and winning artists. The same has affected the Zim-Hip Hop Awards and Zim-Dancehall Awards.

Post published in: Arts

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