The Zimbabwe Music Awards (Zima) which are making a comeback after a seven-year hiatus, were re-launched on Wednesday night at a glittering ceremony in Harare.
Attended by a fair share of musicians from the capital, among them the First Family of gospel music (Baba naMai Charamba), Jah Prayzah, Albert Nyathi, Roki, Energy Mutodi, Tawanda Mutyebere (who incidentally was among the last batch of 2007 winners), Cde Chinx, Mudiwa, the launch ceremony was the step towards the re-birth of the music awards, which are modelled along the lines of the South African Music Awards (Sama).
With a venue made up of high-riding, average and forgotten performers, the night could not have been any better.
Joseph Nyadzayo, who is the chairman of Zima, said the economic challenges that faced the country around 2007 was the reason for the collapse of the awards but now that the economy is headed for better times, the music industry should not be left behind, hence the idea to bring back the awards.
“We are really sorry for the seven years that we have been out of the radar but it was not of our making and as I stand before you, I reaffirm that the awards are back and they are back for good,” he said.
In two weeks’ time, Zima will host an all-stakeholders’ workshop, where musicians, the media and sponsors will be invited to deliberate the adjudication process, the criteria to be used, the categories to be recognised and any other issues that will help in building the awards.
“Most of the time awards in this country are marred by controversy and we want to involve everyone in this edition of the awards, as we will in all future editions, and that way we intend to remove all doubt and questions regarding our awards,” added Nyadzayo.
Elvas Mari, the director of the National Arts Council, welcomed the re-birth of the awards and said that such moves can only be applauded as they help foster the growth of music in the country. “As an arts council, we would rather have as many award ceremonies as possible, that way we know our arts industry is growing. So as we welcome the Zima Awards, we would like to encourage all-inclusive approach to the awards.”
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture, Ms Thokozile Chitepo, who was representing Minister Andrew Langa, said culture is an integral part of society and music plays a pivotal role in keeping that culture intact. She commended the organisers of Zima for putting up a splendid re-launch ceremony and said she hoped that the awards ceremony will be equally good, if not better.
The exhibition of a collection of images from the 60s through to the present day made the re-launch poignant. The collection reminded many of the days when local music was the pride of the nation.
Promoters of other award ceremonies and artistes from various subdivisions of the arts industry graced the occasion — talk of sculptors, comedians, actors and painters, all under one roof.
The cheerfulness on the faces of the musicians was very visible. They just could not hide their delight over the return of the once coveted music awards ceremony.
And the way in which artistes from different epochs blended was really intriguing.
It was a sight so touching, seeing forgotten musician/actor Elijah Madzikatire, son to the late great and inimitable Safirio “Mukadota” Madzikatire, gently swing into the launch venue.
His face was so bubbly and oozing with confidence. Though Elijah has not been visible on the music radar for a while, his deportment sent a clear message which could easily be read as: ‘Yes, our baby is back’ even by a non-arts critic.
Exuding similar confidence was the multi-talented but notorious Rockford “Roki” Josphats. For him, the re-birth of Zima means a lot. These are the awards that honoured him extensively during the crest of his career, which has somewhat plummeted.
Roki must have silently told himself: “If the Zima can be born again, so can I”.
On the other side of the coin, a new breed of musicians that came onto the scene after the last edition of Zima also graced the occasion.
For them, it was much to do with wondering how it would feel after scooping the award, which is an equivalent to the South African Music Awards (SAMAs) or the American Grammy Awards that exclusively honour musicians.
After missing out on the National Arts Merit Awards (Nama), but duly deserving, songbird Pah Chihera rightfully had reason to celebrate the launch of Zima.
Though calm and composed, her facial expressions and the way she mixed and mingled with fellow artistes and other delegates indicated the musician had found comfort.
However, it might not be wrong to assume that she wished she had recorded her 2013 hit song featuring Prince Musarurwa, Runonzi Rudo, this year. For much of the time, she appeared to have been wondering if she could be able to release another gem in the mould of the thump-track that easily put her in the limelight.
Given the high anticipation in each and every artiste that attended (and those that did not attend) the re-launch, the hope is that Zima will this time around manage to bring back the lost glitter of the music industry.
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