The 2019 Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards nominees list is out and congratulations to those who made it! However, true to awards ceremonies world over, the list left a number of people scratching their heads in bewilderment and confusion as it had quite a number of controversial decisions.
It has been 3 years since the inception of the BAAs and we had hoped that the organisers would have mastered the art of running a tight ship, avoiding the obvious loopholes and questionable choices in the process but alas our hopes were dashed on the 4th of May 2019. So without further ado, let’s get into it…
First off let’s talk about the Film and Television category. Ezakomatshelela, Another Wedding and The Man are all nominated in this category yet no one has seen these productions anywhere save for their trailers online. How can productions that have never seen the light of day get nominations? Are adjudicators supposed to nominate and judge the hottest TV shows and Films according to a few seconds seen on social media platforms and on YOUTUBE? The series “Ezakomatshelela” will only be available on ZBC TV later in the year but it already has five nominations in the Film and Television Category.
The Zambezi Magic Commissioned “Another Wedding” also got two nods despite the fact that it has not yet premiered on the station and was only available as a trailer on social media platforms. A short film by Daniel Lasker “The Man” which was shot in Cape Town also got two nominations despite it having only a 53-second trailer on YOUTUBE, and will only be out next month. If the category had NO meaningful work the organisers should have taken this as an opportunity to call out Bulawayo filmmakers on their lack of meaningful Productions.
For the 2019 edition, the category was supposed to be scraped off rather than compromise on the overall quality of the Awards. It was supposed to be taken as a gap year for filmmakers to produce quality work. Ohh and by the way how is Mbo Mahocs competing with local actresses? Its Scandal VS Zero budget Zimbabwean productions guys, wasn’t the Outstanding Ambassador not enough for Mbo? Maybe we should ask the Arnold Chirisas and the Danai Guriras in their multimillion-dollar productions to be nominated against RTGS BOND NOTE Zimbabwean productions as well.
Does this mean Oskido is also supposed to be nominated in all the music categories against Bulawayo based artists and not just the ambassador one?
Another thing that caught our attention was the nomination of Ronald Sigenca and Cedric Msongelwa in the outstanding newcomer category. How on earth did this happen? Oh, wait we had another head-scratching moment in this category again last year didn’t we? Remember Charmaine Mudau and Maforty? In 2011 Ronald Sigenca and Cedric Msongelwa were featured in the multi-award-winning film The Bicycle Thief and we have watched them in several theatre productions for almost 10 years. This error keeps coming up guys. Are the organisers saying one is only recognised as a newcomer after working in the industry for close to a decade?
Another category that left us puzzled was that of the song of the year. Novuyo Seagirl’s song “Bambelela” was only released two months ago and is already a song of the year contender? Why ignore her song A.E.I.O.U and put a song which is hardly known by anyone? A song that doesn’t command any major airplay in Zimbabwean stations, while A.E.I.O.U is currently on rotation and can easily get requested by a listener on any radio station.
In addition to the other dramatic categories, the school’s category also had another shocker. We have Eveline High School and Nketa High School being nominated for the Outstanding Schools Arts Effort yet the same schools failed to contribute outstanding actresses for the outstanding actress award? Are they saying no girls were cast in any productions done by the schools or maybe all the girls’ performances were mediocre? In a world where we are calling for the empowerment of the girl child, the BAAs could have dropped the ball on this one. But judge ye!
The shockers were on a roll on this night even ZESA would have been left blushing! The Comedy Category hayi madoda! We are still wondering why the adjudicators decided to have three nominees in this category. Where is Ckanyiso-Dat-Guy and Nceku? These two comedians had an amazing run in 2018. Will we start claiming them as our own when they get recognition elsewhere just like we are all doing with Mbo?
We also had a few categories that the adjudicators got right though. The outstanding Hip Hop, Gospel, Tshibilika, Imbube, Music producer, Music video, Visual artist and the outstanding ambassador rest of the world nominations were on point and we applaud them for their efforts there, however, we wonder if the awards are working or not working in Bulawayo.
Maybe we should take a gap year and have our artists work on their craft and have top notch products that can compete anywhere in Zimbabwe and the World. Some of the nominated art works won’t survive for a day outside Bulawayo. It’s high time we set proper standards for nominees as we have some worrying exclusions and inclusions on this year’s list.
Several other categories were also questionable (Winky D and Jah Prayzer impacting Bulawayo mmmmm?) but what can we say maybe we are still learning or it’s not working simple. Now we look ahead and hope the event itself will maintain its high standards.
It was shocking that a locally organised event had guests who couldn’t pronounce our local names, what a shame! For a city that is proud of its heritage and is always up in arms when our names and language are bastardized that definitely was an embarrassment and it’s an experience, we do not want to go through again come awards night!
As two time BAA award winners we fully endorse the awards and want to see them grow and flourish, but we all have to agree that certain things that seem to be working are in fact not working or are they?
The adjudicator’s panel needs to be revamped or retrained, whichever one will give us credible results. Proper research and due diligence needs to be undertaken so that the BAAs can maintain its status of being the best awards show in Zimbabwe.
And when all is said and done, come 29 June, we are looking forward to Winky D, Jah Prayzah and Oskido’s attendance at the ceremony.
It will definitely work “SIMPLE”