Why year-end music competitions generate a lot of controversy

WE have seen interesting developments on the showbiz scene over the last two days, with some music lovers crying foul over the results of the annual Radio Zimbabwe Coca-Cola 2017 Top 50 and the ZBC TV Coke Top 50 Videos competition held on New Year’s Eve.

By Winstone Antonio

The annual Radio Zimbabwe Coca-Cola 2017 Top 50 and the ZBC-TV Coke Top 50 Videos competitions are meant to reward local musicians as well as provide them with avenues to exhibit their talent.

I have followed with keen interest how fans have reacted, with some crying foul over the radio and television competitions winners’ gospel musician Blessing Shumba and dancehall chanter Winky D, respectively, ahead of musicians such as Jah Prayzah and sungura maestro, Alick Macheso. But what is quite clear is that those unhappy with the developments are ignorant at how the selection criterion is structured.

For those who have not been following the saga, Shumba’s songs Changa Chajaira and Tariro Ichiripo came first and second, respectively, on radio, while Winky D’s Rugare and My Woman videos were also voted first and second respectively on television.

It appears Winky D is enjoying the fruits of collaborations, as all his winning songs that dominated the ZBC-TV Coke Top 50 Videos are a result of joint efforts, as on Rugare he collaborated with South Africa-based Zimbabwean chanter, Buffalo Souljah and another joint production My Woman, which he featured top Jamaican dancehall star, Beenie Man.

The two were dark horses of the competition, but will now smile all the way to the bank with $4,500 apiece when the sponsors of the competition, Delta Beverages, through their Coca-Cola brand, pay out their dues.

Voting is through the SMS platform, but it seem musicians, their managers and fans are blind to this.

While some claim there is a secret hand manipulating the votes, the fact remains that winners are determined on the basis of votes and not popularity on the streets, social media or even the amount of airplay they receive on radio.

With the programme sponsors having clarified on several occasions how the Radio Zimbabwe Coca-Cola Weekly Top 20 votes will culminate into Coca-Cola Top 50, it is a wonder that some people need the programme sponsors to explain how they come up with this process every year.

According to the programme sponsors, it is the sum total of these votes (audited for accuracy) that will, determine the winners, but it appears that some people still need to be reminded of this information each year.

Of course, a question might be the winning artistes or their songs or videos are popular to who? Is it to the fans or listeners? Obviously, from the outcome, the results indicate that it is the fans, who determine whether or not their idols will win, not just by enjoying the music, but by voting.

The issue of popularity has proved to be of no use when it comes to the Radio Zimbabwe Coca-Cola 2016 Top 50 and the ZBC-TV Coke Top 50 Videos competition.

Of interest, yes, Jah Prayzah, who occupied position 45 with Kutongwa Kwaro and 50 with Ndini Ndamubata might be a darling of many, probably with tens of thousands of followers on social media, the reality is if the majority of his fans did not vote him, they cannot blame anyone for Winky D and Shumba’s victories.

The bottom line is that the win simply reflects that many of their fans did not participate in the poll, so it does not make sense for them to now cry foul.

Maybe, as a word of advice, it is high time those artistes, who believe they have the potential to be winners start engaging and be in touch with their fans for the forthcoming editions of the competitions to encourage them to participate in the voting system.

Feedback on wantonio@alphamedia.co.zw


  1. Free but not fair

    The voting process is indeed free but it is my belief that it is not fair especially for Radio Zim. Since cumulative votes throughout the year are used, those artists who would have released their albums in the early part of the year, tend to have an unfair advantage of others who release in the last quarter of the year. A more balanced approach may be to attach a certain weight to cumulative votes, say 30% and then let the people vote for the one day Top 50 event, attaching a weight say of 70%

  2. Note that Radio Zim has a Top 20 slot that runs every Saturday from January to December and from this, votes are also collated. It is only fair that those who will have dominated airwaves since the beginning of the year should reap rewards for that. How do you explain a situation whereby say one who would have released an album a month before Xmas wins?

  3. having a million views on YouTube is a big feat for Zim artist. .yet Coca cola failed to reward such effort.. they should not hide behind their voting process that rewards lukewarm videos yet we have popular high quality videos that deserve such accolades.

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