By Kennedy Nyavaya
Since its inception, the Zimbabwe Music Awards (Zima) have happened in some years but not others, often without explanation.
But founder and chairperson Joseph Nyadzayo still believes in the idea and was last week upbeat about their next edition slated for January 25.
The last time Zima was held in 2016, it was, apparently, nothing short of a disaster.
Several winners at that ceremony are said to have not received their prizes to date. Some travelled to Harare only to end up in near destitution as accommodation was not available for them, while others were shocked that there was no financial value to the awards.
That however, is all water under the bridge and the next edition themed Zima2020 is back to right the wrongs of the past, according to the organisers.
“I feel Zimbabwe needs Zima to happen every year,” said Nyadzayo.
“We might have failed to have it every year and I think the trick was in how we organised it. So, today I am here to announce that I think we have done it right this time,” assured Nyadzayo.
“I want to declare that from today Zima will happen every year.”
Nyadzayo’s words alone may not be enough, but as a show of intent towards reformation the man has engaged some of the brains behind the thriving Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA), local and international festivals, Mtv Africa Music Awards and the South African Music Awards.
New Zima CEO Reason Sibanda and his team at BAA have miraculously put together three editions of a reputable show from somewhat meagre resources and little national buy-in. So, with such hands on the steering wheel, Nyadzayo may be serious.
“We are a national award and we are going to make sure that we represent the whole nation not a region,” Sibanda told journalists at the press launch in the capital recently.
“I am sure you can see how we have opened the categories even someone in Binga now has an opportunity to submit to Zima. So, the awards are totally open now.”
With 32 categories and a possibility to increase, Sibanda is out to solve the discrepancies caused by exclusionary recognition.
“What we want to do is to keep this a national property and not regional, that is the urge of Zima over the others,” he said.
But, musicians, like everyone, have high expectations and monetary value attached to the gong tops the list.
“It is not always about funding [because] if we always wait for money and it doesn’t come we close shop,” argued National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) boss Nicholas Moyo as he endorsed Zima.
Moyo believes that just like the multi-sectorial National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) run by NACZ, Zima should have a priceless sentimental value attached to it instead of bank cheques.
“It should be in such a way that when you win you are endorsed to the corporates. Ambassadors should be chosen from those that win these awards, that’s why as National Arts Council we will endorse, support and rally our artistes for sectorial awards,” he said.
Although unpopular, the concept stems from bigger international awards like the Grammys where artistes cherish the attention received from other institutions as a result of bagging the awards.
Meanwhile, Moyo said the introduction of Zima as a music sector platform not only eases the pressure on Nama but offers musicians a space to be recognized extensively and all should support it.
“This time around we are not going to be exchanging one trophy, I am saying if we are able to put money and have the trophies at least, let’s do what we can to ensure that the awards happen,” Moyo advised the organisers.