The last week has been very eventful for the Zimbabwean arts sector. Just as the sector has been thrown around different Government ministries as if it’s an unwanted drug package, we found the very foundations of what gives the sector legitimacy shaken.This shocking act of art sabotage is an orchestration led by a group of old unrepentant art players who have overstayed their period of relevance. The highly debatable National Arts Merit Awards Nominees list which was released to us last week to a storm of complaints and wastage of data has reminded us why as a sector we might not see the land of milk and honey soon. Nevermind the failure to get through the announcement process on its own because of electricity issues as their Facebook Live feed was abruptly cut off.
Nevertheless, these shinanigans arent the only pulled by the ‘respected’ awards show. If I’m being particularly honest, there seems to be discord and inefficiency in this Zimbabwean institution led by a crew that’s not in touch with reality. It’s extremely sad that they continue to expose their incompetence and embarrass themselves each year when the nominee list comes out.
This year was no exception, with shock nominations that have drawn criticism from all quarters and it is definitely not looking pretty for the award’s organizers. First to draw blood in a no hold’s barred post was Jibilika founder and art critic, Plot Mhako.
There is a revelation in Plot’s post that one of the nominees for best dancer never actually danced. What a farce! How does a national award show fail to get the right nominees? I don’t mind if you giving the award to your person but at least respect us by actually nominating the right people. That’s not even the worst of all the sins committed by these non-arts respecting culture vultures who are assumedly steering us to paradise. They are taking us deep into the dry an barren desert with every year.
A movie, Kushata Kwemoyo is part of the nominees vying for Outstanding Screen Production: Full-Length Film. Here is the shocker, this movie has not even been released. A couple of guys huddled and saw a film in post-production and decided that it was worth being nominated. Are we serious about the legitimacy of our processes or is it a prize giving ceremony?
As if that was not enough, Zim Hip Hop received a brutal blow wrapped around good news. Nasty C is coming to Zimbabwe and the feeling isn’t fair for local hip-hop acts. Basically, the Dondos are hosting a show with Nasty C and they have invited Jah Prayzah and Winky D to be supporting acts. Sad indeed! Let’s get one thing straight Mr Dondo. You cannot feed off the Hip Hop culture that local artists have been trying to build slowly and not even involve them in the event. The fact that you got established acts who are not even Hip Hop artists and chose to also add an unknown child of yours onto the lineup shows your intentions. Stop feeding off the culture, it’s plainly disgusting.
All sectors do not seem good. The people ‘in charge’ are sleeping on the job and killing art every day. I am proud to announce that the state of our art is in shambles.