As expected, the seventh edition of the Zimbabwe Music AwardS(Zima) held last Thursday in Harare was nothing short of a mockery from the buildup, attendance and the ceremony.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
Running under the theme, Celebrating leaders through music, the ceremony failed to justify the hype as it spelt out signs of unpreparedness on the part of the organisers.
In spite of being controversial in terms of nominees and winners, the event left a trail of despicable traits which reduced its essence to a mere gathering of celebrities, fashionistas and showbiz enthusiasts.
In comparison to the last edition, this year’s event had a paltry crowd despite the organisers having charged $5 for the cheapest ticket. The venue signalled little life as barely a quarter of the seats were filled in the public section. It was the same story in the VIP area, with the VVIP tables visibly occupied by invited guests, among them artists and their guests.
Although the diminished numbers may be attributed to worsening economic woes in the country, high riding artistes like Jah Prayzah and Winky D could have easily filled the venue if they were performing.
This leaves one to only think that it may have been a case of people snubbing because of credibility issues.
Efforts to get a comment from Zima’s public relations department on Friday were fruitless as their phones were not answered, but critics said the awards failed to live to expectations.
“International awards are known to attract massive turnouts as they present fans with the platform to meet their superstars,” said an artist who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Artists are accorded an A-class treatment befitting their status with the red carpet being a glamorous area not easily accessible to all, but Zima failed to do that.”
At Zima fans mixed with artists, pushing and shoving to gain access through the same entrance.
The general presentation of the awards appeared casual and created a sombre ambiance as the presenters failed to bring life to the event, save some captivating performances by local artists.
“By international standards, award hosts are supposed to rehearse prior the main event in addition to organised tele-scripts to guide them in the task,” said one veteran arts journalist.
The organisers were also found wanting when they failed to provide a snippet of the communication they had with the late Bob Marley’s family through social media platform Skype, which they had promised earlier on in an interview with a local newspaper.
The late legendary reggae icon was awarded a lifetime achievement award. Noone from the Bob Marley Foundation graced the ceremony.
The Standard Style also established that nominees from out of Harare encountered challenges in getting accommodation on Wednesday evening.
Zima is one of the country’s most popular music awards, which honour outstanding musicians who specialise in different genres. The ceremony was founded by Joseph Nyadzayo who also acts as the chairman.
The awards were inaugurated in 2003 with the aim of promoting local musicians in their pursuit of musical excellence and creativity.
However, since its inception, the awards have been marred by controversy, with showbiz enthusiasts questioning the nomination criteria which they say is flawed.
Meanwhile, Jah Prayzah continued his award-winning spree, bagging two for best traditional music, best male artist and the third one for a best collaboration which he featured Ammara Brown.
The enraged fans of Killer T left the venue consoled after the Ngoma Ndaimba maker bagged the best dancehall music gong although many felt the album also deserved an award.
Other winners included high-riding Bulawayo-based rapper Cal_Vin (Best hip-hop), Trevor Dongo (Best RnB/Soul/Afro Pop), ExQ and Roki (Best duo and best video).