Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
The winners of the Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAAs) now in their third edition, should be working on growing their careers beyond BAAs.
When the nominees were announced last week, there were shocks and surprises just like in any competition. Rarely does an award ceremony leave everyone satisfied and it appears this will be the case with this year’s BAAs.
The awards are scheduled for June 31 and nominees as well as members of the public are looking forward to a great night of glitz and glamour as Bulawayo play host to Zimbabwe’s biggest and most stylish event.
After years of poorly organised awards ceremonies across the nation, BAAs has managed to claim its place among the few well organised awards ceremonies.
What, however, remains a challenge is for the awards to grow beyond Bulawayo and claim a position at national level.
The awards were set up after the realisation that Bulawayo artistes were being overlooked nationally because of lack of exposure.
Their works, the founders of the awards felt, matched or were even better that the ones that were winning but those who have won at BAAs should aim to compete at national level.
What is encouraging is that those who have won in the past, their works went on to have a big impact at national level.
In categories such as Outstanding Gospel, the BAAs winner, Mai Mwamuka, is competing with other gospel artistes at national level.
Mai Mwamuka’s song Pane Nyasha is receiving high rotation and sits on number five on the ZBC’s Radio Zimbabwe Gospel Top 20 and on number one on Classic 263 Gospel Top 10.
She has toured the country and it seems to be paying off after launching her career early last year.
Another artiste who has taken his influence nationally is Babongile Sikhonjwa who during his time at Skyz Metro FM, was voted as the Outstanding Male Artiste and Outstanding Radio DJ during the BAAs.
This year Sikhonjwa bagged the National Arts Merit Award (Namas) Outstanding Journalist (radio) award.
Asaph last year won the Outstanding Hip Hop Award at the BAAs and then went on to win three awards at the Zim Hip Hop Awards. His track, Mambo, was arguably the best hip hop track in the country.
This is what artistes should aim to achieve when they win an award. After winning at BAA, the artiste should strive to make it at national or even regional level.
Sandra Ndebele is another artiste who after winning the Outstanding Female musician and Outstanding Music video at the BAAs, went on to be nominated at the Namas for the Outstanding Female Musician Award. Although she did not win, the nomination put her in the spotlight.