Companies that cultivate local arts should be applauded and Delta Beverages comes to mind because they have been doing so for many years through the primary school’s competition Jikinya, traditional dances competition Neshamwari and Music band competition Road To Fame.
They should be applauded even more now that the economy is not quite friendly. Yet they continue to march on. Just this past weekend they held the provincial finals of Road To Fame at Manor Hotel.
The competition was great and could have been by far better. I mean the same show used to attract numbers in terms of groups. I also note with concern how in fact all competitions are losing their numbers in terms of artiste participation.
That’s a story for another day. It is competitions like this that birthed glob-trotting Mookomba and catapulted Ezimnyama Arts, Dingumuzi Primary School and Umkhathi Theatre to national recognition, although Umkhathi were already touring the world when they won the national chapter.
It was good to see Kupenya Stars, Afro Queens and African Tribe do their stuff. They were by far the best bands of the day. African Tribe, the eventual winners and Afro Queens — the all-female outfit coming second.
African Tribe won the local competition last year and came second nationally during the same competitions. There is no problem with participation if they do not win nationally, they can keep winning locally and coming back. I know it brings to question the element of growth. It’s like staying in Form Four and being comfortable coming first and when it’s time for A-level you choke and come and shine in Form 4.
So the rules of the competition state; it’s for semi professional/ amateur groups, that are not recorded. I know I will take a few bullets for this, but there is a huge flaw in the competition. The competition only looks at the name and/ or faces of the grouping. Groups have seen this gap and are now hiring professional and recorded bands in their entirety to play for them while they add vocals. It’s now about financial muscle and a possible hustle more than an even field for all groups.
At this rate we will see the Black Spirits playing for an amateur group and possibly winning the competitions and walking high. Until next week, be safe…@nkuenkala 0772214373