HARARE - Zimbabwe Music Awards (Zima) chairperson Joseph Nyadzayo has conceded that this year’s edition of the gongs was a far cry from the glitz-and-glamour affair they had hoped for.
The awards were generally attacked by artistes and music fans alike for lacking both the pomp and organisation associated with top-class events.
While conceding that this year’s edition fell short in a big way, Nyadzayo, who is President Robert Mugabe’s long-time photographer, blamed the drab event on lack of resources.
“We did not achieve the standards we were aiming for. We have a template, which I think if fully implemented, the Zima awards will be a brand Zimbabwe will be proud of.
“Zima is always falling short due to lack of resources. I thank NetOne and other sponsors for supporting Zima this year,” he said.
Many Zima critics have blamed Nyadzayo for failing to organise a top class event even though he is exposed to events of international calibre whenever he is on tour with Mugabe.
“You might have all the skills, knowledge and exposure but the bottom line remains the same — the issue of resources.
“I have learnt a lot about organisation of ceremonies such as national awards when I travel around the globe with ...Mugabe.
“I leant that national interest is very key in other countries. For example, in Russia the citizens are very patriotic, they value national events and they do not look at small things such as a poorly-laid carpet.
“In Shona we say ‘Ane benzi nderake kudzana unopururudza’ so when we are celebrating our artistes we should be patriotic as we are not celebrating mediocrity,” he said.
Contrary to the views of many, Nyadzayo insisted that he did not take over Zima for the purpose of “fattening his pockets.
“Zima is a non-profit entity. You cannot make money through organising awards. In fact, we lose a lot of money in the process of organising the event.
“Imagine, we hired experts such as Clayton Ndlovu from the University of Botswana who was the Zima artistic director this year. We just wanted to come up with a memorable event,” said the Zima chairperson.
Zima has also bore the brunt of irate music fans for continually failing to keep promises.
At last year’s edition, they presented a house under construction to veteran artiste Dickson “Cde Chinx” Chingaira which is still incomplete to date.
To make matters worse, no representative of the Marley family was on hand to receive a posthumous award to late reggae icon Bob Marley this year.
“As I said before, we are operating without enough resources. It is our wish to complete the house and hand it over to Chingaira but resources are limiting us from quickly doing so.
“I am happy that the house for Cde Chinx is 90 percent complete. It only needs tiles and plumbing. We are planning to throw a party at the site once the house is complete.
“On the issue of Bob Marley, we had promised that Rita Marley would come to receive the award on his behalf and later we promised that she would deliver the acceptance speech via Skype.
“The issue was that the Marley family was hard to get in touch with and as a result after toiling hard, searching for them, they advised us that we could hand over the award to Blakk Rasta from Ghana who is close to them and we did exactly that,” he said.
The honouring of the late Marley at the expense of local artistes attracted a volley of brickbats but the Zima chairperson maintained that the departed Jamaican star was a worthy recipient.
“We did not give Bob Marley an award while ignoring ours. We started by honouring our own like Zex Manatsa, the late Green Jangano and Cde Chinx.
“For Cde Chinx, we decided to take a slightly different approach. We built a house for him and not the usual approach of handing over just a stand. Actually, he has never benefited anything tangible from his music,” said Nyadzayo.
The Zima official also said criticism they have received would not prod them to introduce cash prizes.
“As Zima, we do not give cash prizes to our winners because we believe if the awards are done in a proper manner, they will generate not less than five million viewers on television which provides excellent visibility and exposure for the artists,” he said.
Though acknowledging that his team was largely at fault for the poor quality of the event, Nyadzayo also apportioned blame on key partners like the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Television (ZBC – TV).
“The product that came on ZTV this year was generally better though ZBC – TV decided to only broadcast half of the event. They did not cover the tribute to ... Mugabe and Ghanaian artiste Blakk Rasta’s performance yet they had agreed to do a full coverage,” said Nyadzayo.
Despite all the challenges they faced this year, Nyadzayo is confident that next year’s edition will be better.
“We are hopeful that we will get enough support to organise an event that is of international standards,” he said.