There has been a lot of talk shows specifically focused on the Zimbabwean Creativity that have come and gone. Just this week the inaugural Zim Dancehall Summit happened at the College of Music in Harare. The subjects broached made us reconsider the ‘just another talk show’ tag.
The summit was the first of its kind in Zimbabwe where it gathered various stakeholders in the Zim Dancehall fraternity. Listening to the discussions, the aim of the Zim Dancehall Summit was to seek a breakthrough in the value of the genre. From the Artists themselves to the media, right down to the fans.
Considering the size of the Zim Dancehall genre, this was perhaps by far the lowest turnout of Artists possibly imagined. When asked about the turnout online, co-founder of the summit; Plot Mhako stated that the titans of the genre shunned the event regardless of direct invites.
“Sadly, most Artists snubbed the event. We spoke to many. A lot of them. We reached them one by one and for reasons known to them they didn’t show up,” he said.
All was not lost, a couple of the Zimdancehall artists, promoters and personalities attended the Summit including Jah Prayzah‘s Military Touch protege NuttyO, Merciless Zimbabwe, radio personality Abisha Palmer, Sniper Storm, Rick Fire, Mono Mukudu, Edith we Utonga. While the only female Dancehall artist present was Lady B.
It was also quite sad to note that only four of the proposed nine panellists showed up for this discussion. Titans like Etherton, Oscar Pambuka, Funtan of Chillspot and Freeman were nowhere to be found. Such big guns would have added clout to this debut.
Three chief discussions were done, through three panels. The first discussion which was basically focused on the history and the current version of the Zim Dancehall. A necessary conversation towards navigating the future; featuring Nigel Pfunde, Sniper Storm, Ricky Fire and Oliver General.
The second panel was an enlightening exchange focused on Zim Dancehall and its monetization. It was noted that the most artists were concerned about popularity more than creating wealth.
The discussion was led by music experts, Artists Managers, Content Distributors, Creative Consultants as well as the representatives from the Musicians Union. Artists were challenged to have a sense of originality producing honest-to-self-music. This was best reiterated by Marcus Gora, from globally touring band Mookomba. Jazz Artist Edith we Utonga representing the Zim Musicians Union encouraged the formation of an association that would cater to the affairs of Artists. She suggested this would fill in the gap of educating them and to build structures that are lacking not only in Zim Dancehall but in Zimbabwe’s Music Industry.
It is true that Zim Dancehall still has had a great impact socially on the youths, more so the ghetto youths and it still has the potential to be the most influential genre in Zimbabwe. The last panel of the day was chiefly aimed at exactly that; featuring the likes of Jah Bless the artist, DJ Tshila and Lady B.
Whilst it is true that there is so much to be done in Zim Dancehall. It is important not to overlook the journey, the successes and milestone that has been accomplished by a meeting of this nature.
The question is, can a platform such as the Zim Dancehall Summit turn this genre into the promised land of prominence?
Vote on our Twitter and share your thoughts.
— #ENTHUSE (@ENTHUSEMag) June 29, 2018