Sulu deserving Nama winner: Nacz

HARARE - Organisers of the National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) say the Outstanding Male Musician and Female Musician Awards are not necessarily given to artistes who have released the most successful albums.

Dendera music star Suluman Chimbetu was heckled at the Nama ceremony held at 7 Arts Theatre on Valentine’s Day when he went to the podium to accept the Outstanding Male Musician Award which the crowd felt should have gone to Zimdancehall star Tocky Vibes.

It would appear that the crowd felt that 21-year-old Tocky Vibes was a more deserving candidate since he had picked two awards earlier that night, making him the most successful artiste at this year’s Nama ceremony. The Mhai hit-maker bagged the Outstanding Song and the Outstanding Album awards.

But Catherine Mtombeni, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz) communications and marketing officer, insisted that Suluman deserved the award.

Mtombeni said, contrary to popular belief, they considered several other factors in addition to the success of an artiste’s album.

“The issue of the release of an album is only but an added advantage,” she said.

“Some aspects that are considered include size of audience built, use of musical instruments, voice, innovativeness, originality, repertoire, dancing and how it adds value to the music and entertainment value.”

The Nacz publicist also defended the inclusion of Suluman’s latest album Gunship in the Outstanding Album category where it eventually lost to Tocky Vibes’ Mhai Singles Collections.

“The closing date for submission of Nama entries is November 30th of each year. Therefore, entries that were considered for the 14th Nama edition are works that were published between December 1, 2013 and November 30, 2014.  Sulu’s album was submitted before the closing date,” said Mtombeni.

Some music fans and critics alike have also wondered how Tocky Vibes walked away with the Outstanding Album when he had no “proper” album to speak of but Mtombeni said the 21-year-old artiste complied with the rules and regulations of the awards.

“The entry submitted to Nama was an Album called Mhai Singles Collections and that is what was used to judge the entries for this award category,” said the Nacz publicist.

Meanwhile, Tocky Vibes, who is expected to leave for his maiden United Kingdom tour this week, says he has no qualms with the decisions of the judges to hand the Outstanding Male Musician Award to Sulu.

The Mhai singer’s manager Elvis Bokosha told the Daily News that his artiste has a lot of respect for the award winner Suluman and the Nama adjudication panel.

“The awards are for our fans. Though they might feel we deserved more, we are happy with what we got and respect the adjudicators’ decisions. It is God’s work. He is moving us from one level to another,” said Bokosha.

Tocky Vibes, who has been nominated five times in the Zimdancehall Awards scheduled for March 6 and who was recently included by the Zimbabwe Business Awards Council among individuals and companies that have excelled in their brands and businesses, has attributed the flurry of awards coming his way to God.

“It is no-one but God who has taken me to this point. Winning awards proves that I chose the right path by singing things that are not vain. The awards might not have much money but it’s the recognition that matters. It means that my music is impacting on people both young and old,”  he said.

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