BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
IT is back!
The popular Chibuku Road to Fame talent search makes a return this Saturday after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bulawayo is the first to host the competition’s provincial finals at KoNjabulo Beer Garden before it spreads to the country’s nine other provinces.
Since inception in 2001, Chibuku Road to Fame has been the leader in unearthing unheralded music gems.
The competition has identified, nurtured and brought to light many talents that could have probably failed to showcase their capabilities in the competitive showbiz industry.
While arts and culture is considered an integral part of the government’s Vision 2030 aimed at ensuring that Zimbabwe attains a middle-income economy, the authorities’ snail pace in terms of breathing life into the sector has been met with mixed reactions.
The government has come under fire from creatives for “neglecting” the billion-dollar sector, which has seen a few corporates such as Delta Beverages supporting the industry.
As part of its social responsibility, the leading beverages manufacturer has breathed life into the creative sector by constantly sponsoring the Chibuku Road to Fame and Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival, through their Chibuku brand.
Maybe as a way to entice corporates to support the arts and culture sector, it’s high time government considered tax cuts for corporates that fund arts and culture to help breathe life into the industry.
As President Emmerson Mnangagwa continues to preach the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra, arts and culture must also be at the centre of re-imaging and rebranding the country.
From the schedule released by competition organisers, after Bulawayo, the competition heads to Mashonaland Central on August 13 at Club 263 Showgrounds in Bindura.
Chinyausunzi Beerhall in Sakubva, Mutare will host the Manicaland provincial competition on August 20.
Mashonaland East and Matabeleland South will simultaneously host the competition on August 27 at Kotwa Leisure Centre, Mudzi and Malaxo Beer Hall in Beitbridge, respectively.
The Harare provincial competition has been set for September 3 at Warren Park Bar.
From Harare, the competition heads to Masvingo province where the event will be hosted on September 10 at Chihambakwe Beerhall in Triangle.
On September 17, Midlands and Matabeleland North will concurrently host their provincial competitions at Gulez Night Club in Kwekwe and Chinotimba Beerhall in Victoria Falls, respectively.
As the competition nears climax, Mashonaland West province will be the last to host the competition on September 24 at African Roots Bar in Raffingora.
If everything goes according to script, the national finals will be held on October 1 at a yet to be announced venue.
Launched on October 27 in 2001, Chibuku Road to Fame is the country’s largest grassroot talent identification competition.
The competition is a collaborative effort between Delta Beverages, through its Chibuku brand and National Arts Council of Zimbabwe with the aim of identifying and promoting musical talents.
The competition starts at provincial level and winners from the country’s 10 provinces compete at national level for the monetary prize, plus a fully paid recording contract.
Chibuku Road to Fame seeks to promote the development of musical groups through identifying potentially talented groups.
The competition organisers will then assist the winners to produce their work. The competition also provides up-and-coming musicians with technical expertise in music and event management.
To date, sungura musician Romeo Gasa, who fronts Extra Valembe band remains, the notable product of Chibuku Road to Fame after he won the competition in 2007.
- Follow Winstone on Twitter @widzonato