The Zimbabwe Music Awards (ZIMA) have long been mired in controversy, from a contested nomination process. Their return under new management this year following a three-year absence could herald a new era. The new management is keen to regain the much-needed confidence.
One of the new initiatives is an online selection criteria, which the team believes is foolproof and will address challenges previously experienced.
The team also unveiled gongs that will be handed out on the awards night on the 25th of this month.
These have been placed on public display at Newlands Country Club. While the initiatives appear to be impressive, to some they appear not to be enough to lure sponsors judging by the lack of sponsorship.
The organisers said many corporates were adopting a “wait-and-see” attitude. Corporates, the team said, were eager to see how well-organised the event is and whether it would not tarnish their brands.
There are also signs that it is not just the corporates that are unimpressed but journalists, musicians and members of the public have not warmed up to nominees that have been announced.
There has been reservations on some of the musicians shortlisted to get awards and the absence of some artistes, which some people are saying is a major omission.
The sungura category is missing some very hard working upcoming musician such as Romeo Gasa and Obvious Mutani.
Those nominated are Peter Moyo whose last album flopped, Nicholas Zakaria, Mukoma Panga and Greatman, who only has a couple of notable songs to his name.
In the dancehall category there is a general feeling among musicians that Ndunge Yut is not ripe enough to be part of the nomination list when there are musicians such as Tocky Vibez, Jah Signal, Killer T, Winky D and Silent Killer who would had filled the spot.
The obvious absence of DJ Tamuka, Chiwedar, and Cymblex in the Producer of the Year category left many with a lot of questions on the selection process.
Then there is the issue of Judgement Yard being nominated in the Best DJ category when they are a sound house, which has a number of DJs and MCs under its belt.
One of the ZIMA judges Dr Tony Friday said they worked with available entries.
“We can’t judge on something that was not submitted. We worked with what was available,” he said.
This then raises the question whether or not artistes obviously snubbed the awards or was it an oversight on their part or their management.
Or was the lack of a prize money a turnoff for prospective entrants? Whatever the answer maybe, there is a need for broad based participation in the awards.
Lack of submission could lead to undeserving artistes winning awards, which will not do the awards any good.
Awards are a rubber stamp that one did well in that period and whether we like it or not, those that were nominated will go down in history as the ones who did well in 2019.
Artistes need to book their space in history and one way to do so is to enter awards and have professionals commend and celebrate them for a job well-done.