Music awards selections a let-down

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By Confidence Musariri WINDHOEK The emblem of national culture in music almost died a natural death last week at the NBC/Sanlam Music Awards. Unplanned surprises ÃÆ’Æ‘ÂÂÃÆ’ÂÀÃ…¬ÃÆ’ÂÃ’šÂ¬Ã‚ some pleasant, others embarrassing and yet others hilarious ÃÆ’Æ‘ÂÂÃÆ’ÂÀÃ…¬ÃÆ’ÂÃ’šÂ¬Ã‚ have always been a part of big events in the world of entertainment, but ours were seemingly planned. The glamorous event has seen the organisers being quizzed on who was supposed to win what. Even some artists have escaped the tirade of fans with the feeling that they are frauds, charlatans or impostors, yet the deep hollow was almost missed by everyone. The awards failed to provide the transitional gap between the old and the younger generation. The young generation is mainly euro-centric, while the older generation holds the key to our culture and this riddles the organisers with amateurism. The whole ceremony was stacked by less than three music genres. Henceforth, awarding lifetime achievement awards to artists not singing those genres becomes a face-saver. There was no appropriate category representing the music genres of Jackson Kaujeua and Willie Mbuende, our national ambassadors. Expectations are a reality in the music industry especially for artists, but the invited guests were definitely caught off guard. Sitting a spitting distance from the stage, Education Minister Nangolo Mbumba and his high level entourage of invited guests, including Deputy Cultural Minister Pohamba Shifeta, might have left the evening morally deprived. Some artists were blissfully ignorant of the fact that their explicit, sexually suggestive stage gears which they dress in nightclubs are not suitable at solemn occasions such as the NBC/Sanlam Music Awards, some artists even launched into raunchy acts that left little to the imagination especially sitting that close. “Artists have different creative expressions,” defends Sanlam organiser, Evans Simatta. However, the flaw of not being truly national was proven when the Wild Dogs performed. Clad in their golden attire, the Herero group was the closest that event was to keeping a national heritage. They sang and swayed in typical Herero moves. Simatta says Stanley withdrew at the last minute while NBC equipment could not accommodate live bands for live broadcasting. Was it a voter’s fault that there was no music winner or performer representing each of the main tribes in the country? Poor Stanley and his ethnic Damara music and pity the Caprivi artists who have become the epitome of Bantu culture, as they will continue to be brushed aside by the selection process. Coming to the categorising segment, Tunacky was the only beacon of African melody amid a sea of Kwaito and Hip Hop musicians to win an award. For the record, Kwiku music is the only genre that Namibia brewed over the last two years, that has been borrowed by foreign artists. The awards might have been gallantry but there remains no groundbreaking force in the African music industry. The ceremony was further reduced to a farce and in the process robbed the country of its vestiges in cultural diversity and implementation. Hence, it is not only those who everybody expected would win but were denied their due honour through a porous and incompetent selection process bereft of any veritable standards who will feel cheated and insulted. But even those such as dancers Gal Level (Best Newcomer), declared winners in categories to which they were not qualified to enter, will inevitably feel bad about their wins, if they have any sense of cultural play at all.

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