Who will win this year’s afrima award?

in the groove:with Fred Zindi

People often ask me: What is the purpose of music awards ceremonies? I often tell them that the purpose of award ceremonies and assemblies is to celebrate outstanding musicans’ achievements and to motivate and encourage them to continue on their path. The good musicians are more motivated to succeed in future if recognition is given them through award ceremonies. This year, in this article, I am looking at one international awards ceremony as a way of recognising Zimbabwean musicians.

The sixth All-Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) ceremony (2019) is around the corner. It is the annual celebration of African talent from all regions of the continent which has taken place in different countries since 2014. This year it will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from November 6 to 9.

Among the hundreds of music nominees this year are Davido, Wizkid, Mr Easi, Burna Boy, and Yemi Alade from Nigeria. From Zimbabwe, Winky D, Ammara Brown, Jah Prayzah and Ex-Q have been nominated, while Sidiki Diabete from Mali, Diamond Platinumz from Tanzania, Afro B from Ivory Coast and Wally B Seck from Senegal are also on the list of nominees. From Ghana, King Promise, Stonebwouy and Kwami Eugene have been nominated, while South Africa’s nominees are Cassper Nyovest and Nasty C.

Nomination categories include Best Male Artiste, Best African Group, Best Female Artiste, Best African Dancer, Best Video of the Year and Best Producer.

How will Zimbabwe’s nominated artistes fare at AFRIMA? Let’s wait and see.

Award-winning contemporary musician Jah Prayzah and local dancehall king Winky D have received nominations in the Best Male Artiste Southern Africa category.

Winky D, born Wallace Chirumiko on February 1, 1983 in Kambuzuma, Harare, received nomination for his hit song video, MuGarden, a collaboration with Gemma Griffiths. The song eclipsed over two million views on YouTube within two months, thus making it his first video to reach that milestone. Winky D has been bagging awards throughout his music career.

In 2016, he did it with the song Disappear. The song won both the National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) 2016 Best Song Of The Year and Zimdancehall Awards of 2016. He has also won awards in the categories of Best Video for his hit song, Vashakabvu, Best Social Message for Mafirakureva and Best Live Performer.

Another giant, Jah Prayzah, became the first Zimbabwean to win an MTV African Music Award after scooping the Listeners’ Choice category on October 22, 2016.

In 2017, Jah Prayzah emerged the biggest winner at Nama in the Most Outstanding Male Musician category.

This year, Jah Prayzah received nominations for his hit song, Dzamutsana from the album Chitubu, which was released last year. He has consistently been nominated for the AFRIMA Award in previous years since 2016 for the songs Nziyo Yerudo featuring Yemi Alade from Nigeria, Watora Mari featuring Diamond Platnumz from Tanzania, and Hello. Unfortunately, these songs did not bring the gong to Zimbabwe. We hope that this year, with his powerful hit Dzamutsana whose video, filmed in Binga and which attracted over a million views on YouTube, is a winner.

In 2004, Ammara Brown won the regional Music Crossroads competition. Brown, who is not a stranger to awards and top competitions, also made it to the top 10 of Idols East and Southern Africa in 2008.

Among the AFRIMA-nominated artistes, the only one who seems to be new to top awards is the hard-working EX-Q.

Enock Munhenga, better known by his stage name, EX-Q, is a Zimbabwean recording artiste, performer, singer and songwriter. He rose to fame in 2000 when he released Musalala, a song well-received throughout Zimbabwe. He then became a household name during the era when urban grooves was gaining popularity in the country..

Over the years, EX-Q has been consistently dropping hits and topping the charts. Some of his well known singles are Pandakakuona, Bhachura, Nhema and Mazirudo.

He has also done a number of collaborations with some of Zimbabwe’s major artistes. These include Stunner, Ammara Brown, Killer T and Oliver Mutukudzi .

Fast-forward to 2017, EX-Q joined Jah Prayzah’s Military Touch Movement. Together they released one of Zimbabwe’s biggest hits of 2017 Chekeche featuring
Nutty O, Jah Prayzah, Andy Muridzo, Tahle we Dzinza, and DJ Tamuka.

On April 17, 2018 EX-Q released his sixth studio album Tseu Tseu.

The African Union Commission (AUC) in partnership with AFRIMA have unveiled a programme of events for the sixth edition of the awards in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

AFRIMA is designed to promote the distinct rich African music worldwide, engaging millions of fans by propelling African music to glorious pinnacles beyond the borders of Africa.

For three consecutive years, 2014 to 2016, Nigeria won the rights above 13 other countries to host the AFRIMA.

Ghana hosted the 2018 edition of the awards in partnership with the Tourism, Arts and Culture ministry . This year, it is Ethiopia’s turn.

We hope, with the pro-active input from our Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation ministry, Zimbabwe will host next year’s AFRIMA. To the minister, Kirsty Coventry, I ask these questions: If not us, then who? If not from Zimbabwe, then whence? If not now, then when? Let Zimbabwe rise to its quintessential challenge. Please give us a chance to host AFRIMA.

In Africa, music is always seen as inseparable from human existence. It carries long traditions and values that are associated with the people and represents part of their identities.

Music in African societies, as it functions in many different societies in the world, has enormous value. Music, either making it or listening to it, is linked to life experiences and peoples’ culture.

As such, sweet, feel-good experiences need to be created for the millions of followers of African music all over the world for them to understand and appreciate Africa’s culture. The need to inspire generations and celebrate African music is one of the reasons why AFRIMA was born.

AFRIMA has five regional directors and 54 country directors as part of the decision-making organs.

AFRIMA 2019 is going to be the best experience ever for those invited to participate this year; with a full weekend of activities lined up including welcome party, fashion show, meet-and-greet sessions, red carpet, award ceremony, music festival, after party and lots more.

Other activities leading up to main events include conferences, stakeholders’ meetings, festivals, speaking engagements, university campus concert and courtesy calls to heads of governments and leaders of institutions in corporate and government sectors across the five regions of Africa to achieve an all-round engagement with all relevant AFRIMA stakeholders.

AFRIMA is a music property that recognises and rewards the work and talent of a myriad of African artistes from the old to the new generation of musicians.

After five outstanding editions of AFRIMA from 2014 to 2018, the sixth edition of the awards will continue in the tradition of celebrating the musical culture of Africa by featuring Pan-Africa events throughout 2019.

On a different note, the music fraternity has received with great sadness yet another shocking news of the passing-on of former Blacks Unlimited mbira player, singer, songwriter, composer, author and teacher, Chartwell Dutiro. Chartwell played mbira in Thomas Mapfumo’s band for a while before starting his own mbira academy in Britain, which he named Mhararano. He died last week after graduating with a PhD from Bath Spa University in the UK. His body is expected to arrive in Zimbabwe this week.

Nothing can describe the sadness and anguish we are feeling over his death. We offer our sympathy, prayers and compassion to his family and friends.

This year has been an extremely bad year for musicians after the loss of Oliver Mtukudzi, Dorothy Masuka, Edwin Gwenzi and now Dutiro. This loss of musicians’ lives will impact on us forever. May their souls rest in eternal peace.

l Feedback: frezindi@gmail.com

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