HARARE - Female artistes say their failure to make a mark at the Zimdancehall Awards held at Club 1+1 Longcheng last week was largely caused by the negative perception of women musicians by society.
The only female winner was Darula who came tops in the category reserved for women — the Best Female Musician Award.
As has been the case since the awards were launched three years ago, there were no female nominees in the other 17 categories.
The only other exception was the Best Collaboration gong where Killer T and Fungisai’s duet Vanotibatirana carried the day.
Zimdancehall artiste Juwela told the Daily News that women artistes will continue to find it hard to flourish in an environment skewed in favour of their male counterparts.
“There is a general misconception in society that women are not serious hence their music is not taken seriously by fans. Female artistes are really working hard just like their male counterparts but it is unfortunate that we are operating from different platforms,” said Juwela, a media studies graduate from the Midlands State University.
She added that Zimdancehall artiste Ninja Lipsy merited being nominated in the other male-dominated categories.
“She (Ninja Lipsy) worked so hard last year, staging concerts in different parts of the world but because she is a female very few people take her music seriously,” said Juwela.
As the country joins the rest of the world in celebrating International Women’s Day today, Juwela said efforts should be made to give female artistes a fair chance.
“If society is not taking women seriously from the word go, it follows that they won’t have time to listen to their music. The African society is structured in
favour of men to the extent that even women no longer have confidence in what other women in society are doing.
“One of the female pioneers in the Zimdancehall arena Lady Squanda was lucky to get overwhelming attention when she entered the Zimdancehall arena because she was the only female artiste in the genre dominated by men.
“Now there is an increase of female artistes in the genre but society is still concentrating on music from men,” said the Love Haimanikidzwe singer.
Ninja Lipsy, who featured on Winky D’s track Taitirana, concurred with Juwela.
“Zvakagara zvakadaro sha kuti vakadzi takangowanda but hationeki, (It has been like that since time immemorial. Women constitute the majority of the population but they are a minority when it comes to occupation of influential roles in society).
“Even mukombi chaimo munoridzwa music yevarume and pakasvika yemukadzi vanobaya next (Even in commuter omnibuses music by men is the preferred choice,”she said.
Despite what she described as unequal representation, Lipsy insisted that female artistes won’t be deterred.
“Despite the fact that the environment favours men, that cannot stop us from working hard,” she said.
Zimdancehall female artistes are not the only ones failing to make a mark. Women artistes failed to make it into the Top 30 of end of year Radio Zimbabwe Coca-Cola Top 50.