A MISA Night to Forget


Frederick Philander AND there they were, all the big writers of our time, collared and tied (some I have never seen so elaborately dressed) for the MISA Awards last Saturday at an equally elaborate venue. On entering the hall, with my wife on my side (apparently an exception made by the organizers to share in the humiliation that I and others were forced to endure the following day), we were ushered into the room. My sixth sense as an artist warned me that there was something wrong on stage. I missed to see why those MCs were selected to do the honours on the night. I told my wife that it was so damn unfair. There are so many capable, but unemployed performing artists in the country that could have done much better with what those two were instructed to do. Yes, to me it was an uninspiring choreographed effort none to any I have attended and witnessed everywhere around the 25 countries I have visited, jokes, lock, stock and barrel. The presentations came across so rigidly and predictably, I wanted to scream out. My mind was occupied with other things: meeting the editor of Big Issue, Servaas and his lovely Zimbabwean wife, I didn’t even hear that my name was called out. My wife nudged me in the hip to remind me before I got up to walk to the podium, disturbed but concerned for what I expected would happen, but really not knowing what was to happen. Yes, I am a skeptic by nature when I smell incompetence a mile off. Anyway, to get to my point, the flimsy excuse that was dished up by the organizing company did not and does not make sense to me and other right-minded people. The wrong draft winner’s list being handed to be announced? Baloney. Can anyone of the esteemed organizers please explain to me why they went to all the trouble of neatly writing the winning cheques and signing the “certificates of excellence” to the wrong winners in all the categories, just to realize the following day they made a faux pas? Funny enough, I do not have a mental or any other scar for that matter or hold any grudges, except the fact that I refused and still refuse to hand back the N$1 000 that was wrongly handed to me for ostensibly finishing in second place in the education category. My eldest daughter half-heartedly congratulated me the Sunday morning and when I was asked what I won, I rather became embarrassed. “Only N$1 000, Dad?” rather disappointingly when I answered. “Dad, that’s a gross insult. You are used to winning much bigger prize monies for your writings,” she replied to my humble statement. From the mouth of a child comes the truth, isn’t it? Disappointments aside, the whole thing smacked of incompetence, with all due respect to the African judges. I kind of like the concept that the judging was done abroad, but seemingly someone, somewhere deliberately tampered with the results either to settle a score or merely through ignorance, that’s what the little voice in me repeatedly tells me. And this is not sour grapes at all, because I know my own abilities, so do the esteemed regular readers of New Era. I still maintain I will give away the N$1 000 to a needy charity. And the certificate? It has received, after much family deliberation and discussion, a special place at home. Good luck to all the winning/losers/and winners! Until next year, hopefully when more competent people run the MISA Show. Eewa!