Home » Arts & Culture » The Curse of Music Awards

When immaculately dressed Alick Macheso went to the podium to receive his fourth award of the night, the musician could not contain his joy. The calmness with which he had received the three preceding awards subsided.

For the better part of the night, it had appeared Macheso’s eruptive character was somehow bundled in his nice designer suit. It had seemed Macheso had decided to keep his actions consistent with his dressing.

But the fourth award broke the barriers that had kept the jovial character inside the talented dancer.

Macheso went on the dance floor and exhibited his skills. He danced carelessly and forgot about the cage. People joined in the celebrations but most observers joked about the contrast between the designer suit and wild “borrowdale” dance paces that Macheso showcased.

It was a night of fun and the likes of Roki made the event more exciting with good performances. That was in 2007 at a Zimbabwe Music Awards ceremony in Harare.

Macheso has always had this jovial character that makes him oblivious of boundaries to make merry whenever he gets to a celebratory event.

However, his dance that night and the consequent merrymaking at the event made a proverbial last supper of the awards that had run for five years. The 2007 ZIMA ceremony marked the end of the honorary event.

In 2008, there was a promise that the awards would be held in Bulawayo as a way of showing their national appeal.

The venue was given as Bulawayo Theatre, yet nothing related to ZIMA ever came to the theatre that year.

Subsequent efforts to revive the awards have been futile.

In 2010, Carl Joshua Ncube and his team set a date for the revived awards and nothing came to pass. Ncube said lack of funding had stalled their efforts to bring back the awards.

In 2012, Chamu Chiwanza joined the race to bring back the awards and painted a colourful picture of a ceremony that was to be held that year.

He said they had engaged a South African company to make the awards ceremony an international affair but, again, ZIMA failed to take off. That year, we were looking forward to something close to South Africa Music Awards.

Nothing was said about the ceremony last year and there is no news about the awards so far this year.

Instead, this year we have been introduced to new awards called Wene Music Awards. Ironically, Daves Guzha, who had a dance with the last edition of ZIMA when his company – Rooftop Promotions – was contracted to manage the awards is involved in Wene awards.

Maybe Guzha has taken lessons from mistakes made by ZIMA organisers and will come up with something that would not be a shortlived disappointment. Guzha cannot be blamed for the demise of ZIMA awards because he came in when the ship was about to sink.

Guzha and company had to grapple with a tough situation that saw them failing to source trophies for their winners. It was funny how a single statuette rotated among the winners and no one took anything home. Even now the ZIMA 2007 winners do not have anything in their cabinets to show for their success.

But ZIMA organisers have to be commended for bringing something worth celebrating in the local arts industry for five years. Maybe they had also inherited some problems from their predecessor, the Tinotenda Siyabonga Awards (TSAMA).

TSAMA, which was a brainchild of broadcaster Themba Mkanda only managed to survive for three years before mismanagement issues buried the awards. TSAMA had its glittering moments besides the obvious controversy about winners and ceremony execution that follows awards internationally.

Those that attended the 1999 ceremony would recall how legends of that time, Thomas Mapfumo, Simon Chimbetu, Leonard Zhakata and Oliver Mtukudzi squared up for the accolades.

They were the top winners of the night and the ceremony was exciting since they all performed.

Although Mapfumo pulled one of his notorious tricks by performing for a short time and rushed to another show in Chitungwiza, the ceremony was generally superb.

Performances from the legends lit the night and no one would have imagined that two years down the line TSAMA would fold. So, when the awards came back as ZIMA, the same curse hit the awards.

Several low note music awards targeting specific genres have been held but there is nothing much to celebrate about the ceremonies. The Zim Hip Hop Awards have been shrouded in controversy and remain secluded from the mainstream industry.

We also have Zim Dancehall Awards that were recently announced and would be taking place this month.

There has been little attention towards these new awards mainly because they target a specific genre.

In 2008 we were promised heaven on earth by one Blessing Jeke who announced the formation of Progressive Music Awards. Well, that was a joke of the year because the awards started and ended with that announcement.

So, this is the background of music awards that Wene Music Awards organisers have to deal with.

There is need to restore confidence in the arts industry and bring assurance that we can have exciting music awards that are credible and long-lasting.

It is encouraging that the organisers have begun on a positive note and announced judges that have experience in the industry.

The rest will be seen as the preparations continue.

Musicians should not forever look up to National Arts Merit Awards that deal with many genres to be honoured. Good Luck Wene.

Source : The Herald

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