‘Zim needs Zima to happen’

POMP and fanfare accompanied the arrival of the Zimbabwe Music Awards (Zima) in 2003. That same year, a red-hot Alick Macheso announced his arrival on the big stage with a bang as he scooped the biggest gong — Song of the Year — with his hit “Madhawu”. For the next few years, he would dominate the awards ceremony scooping Best Live Performer, Male Artiste of the Year and Best Sungura Artiste, among many other honours. This all happened when competition was tough as the music landscape was highly contested. Greats such as Simon “Chopper” Chimbetu were still around. A fierce rivalry was also to emerge as Macheso went head-to-head with the late Tongai “Dhewa” Moyo. In short, Zima was well-received by music lovers, the artistes themselves and corporates. But within a few years, Zima’s problems had begun. Of course, the economy was not in good shape, resulting in corporates pulling out. For seven years, Zima went into a hiatus, only to make a massive return in 2014 when the late Cde Chinx received the Chairman’s Award, a house in Mabelreign.

As the event marks its return this year after another lengthy break, one can never know whether the event will actually take place or not. A fortnight ago, Zima held a Press conference to announce that it was relaunching the event. Among those in attendance were the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe director Nicholas Moyo and the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association’s Pholisile Ncube. Zima chairman Joseph Nyadzayo said something insightful. He admitted that over the years, their structure and model might have been wrongly configured. However, in the same breath, he said he is confident that his new team is on the right path. “Zimbabwe needs Zima to happen every year. We struggled in the past, maybe because of how we had configured it (Zima). I’m repeating something I have probably said before, but I think we have done it right this time,” said Nyadzayo. Since creation, Zima has been an event-based project.

The team working on the show, which often changed with every edition except for Nyadzayo himself, would regroup a few months before the next event. Often-times this meant the team did not share any vision, harmony or even comprehension of the task at hand. However, the new concept, which is in accordance with international best practice, will see Zima establishing a permanent office and bringing its staff on board to run programmes throughout the year, leading up to the main event. This might be a definite winner.

The Zima team, led by Reason Sibanda, unveiled the new offices which are located at Causeway Building in Harare. The team quickly declared that it is now “business unusual” at Zima. While corporates used to support the event on a short-term basis, this new Zima has the potential to attract partnerships that last longer. Furthermore, a glimpse at Zima’s new structure shows that the days of Nyadzayo being heavily involved in everything — from assuming the chief executive officer’s role, fund-raising, to even being the spokesperson, are now over.

The Sunday Mail Society interviewed the new Zima marketing and public relations executive Benjamin Nyandoro, who explained what they mean by “business unusual”. “The conversation around this began at the conclusion of the last Zima awards ceremony. Time was not even a factor in the decision- making matrix, the main objective was to get everything right. “First we needed to identify fitting resource personnel capable of discharging key deliverables. Zima now has a full-fledged secretariat headed by our CEO Reason Sibanda. He has vast experience from Glastobury, MTV Africa Music Awards, South African Music Awards and the Bulawayo Arts Awards, to name just a few,” said Nyandoro. Nyandoro is Jive Zimbabwe founder and director.

Jive Zimbabwe is a diversified concern that provides digital platform management for artistes. The company has worked with many artistes in corporate-supported music release events. Nyandoro is also a content partner on Buddie Beatz, One Music and Teletunes. Said Nyandoro: “Our technical guy, Simon Mambazo Phiri, needs no introduction. He has toured the world with numerous local groups and is invited to help on events such as the National Arts Merit Awards. “Brand and business development expert, Nancy Ziyambi, is coming in to mobilise resources for sustainable growth. The chairperson provides policy direction and continuity.” Nyandoro said as a team, they extensively carried out research on successfully performing bodies from across the globe before tailoring their findings to suit the Zima project.

“Zima 2020 has 32 all-inclusive best practice award categories that reflect Zimbabwe’s cultural diversity. We have gone to great lengths to ensure that we achieve system and process integrity because this has always been a thorny issue, especially around highly competitive categories.” Zima 2020 is set to take place on January 25 at the Harare International Conference Centre in Harare. With their new way of running things and the envisaged smart partnerships, this could be an opportunity for corporates to come in. From the look of things, whoever gets in now will buy on the cheap and reap huge profits in the not-so-distant future. Mtandazo Dube - The Sunday Mail


Written on 2019-11-10 13:26:30