Controversy mars Bulawayo awards
5 June 2019
South Africa-based musician Oscar Bonginkosi Mdlongwa, aka Oskido's, rejection of the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards nomination has opened a can of worms amid revelations that another nominee had earlier on turned down their nomination.
Bulawayo-based motion picture production house Multi Media box pulled out of the awards after their product Another Wedding was nominated for the Outstanding Film alongside Daniel Lasker's The Man, which leaves Lasker as the only nominee in the category.
Surprisingly, the awards organisers announced the pulling out of Another Wedding from the awards when they were reacting to Oskido's "snub" even though the film producers had communicated with them a day after the nominees had been announced on May 4.
Works of arts considered for nomination for the Roil Bulawayo Arts Award should have been produced and consumed by the public ranging from June 2018 to April 2019 and the rules stipulate that only submitted work would be considered for nomination.
Another Wedding only premiered on DStv's Zambezi Magic on May 17.
"On sitting down the judges were quite aware of the economic condition that artistes are working under. The judges were also aware film is a specialised sector, which requires resources and proper skills. The awards acknowledge the effort. Resources and skills invested in the production," read part of the statement released by the awards organisers in response to Oskido's pulling out on Tuesday.
"On film sadly the committee announces official pulling off of Another Wedding from the nominees list. This leaves Daniel Lasker's The Man as the only film in this category. The awards again recognise and celebrate this effort."
Speaking to Standard Style, Multi Media Box's producer Kudzi Chikomo said they pulled out because they felt they didn't deserve the nomination because they had not submitted their work of art for nomination.
"A day after the awards nominees list was released we found our film there and we communicated with the organisers that they should withdraw our work from the list," Chikomo said.
"The reason is because we had not submitted our work for the awards and when the submission deadline was due before we were even done with production and we had not launched the film and we had not been given the launch date by Zambezi Magic.
"We had only released a trailer for the public, hence we felt we did not qualify for this year's awards and also we feared complications with our partners as the film was still work in progress."
Another Wedding's pulling out leaves, The Man — a short film by Lasker as the sole nominee in the film category, but the same film is also new to the public. Lasker only released the film on May 25, which is close to a month after the nominees list were released.
That leaves the organisers of the awards as a "board, which makes rules for other people that they intend to break".
Last week Kalawa Jazmee Records (Oskido's music kingdom) assistant James Mathenga dropped a bombshell when he announced that Oskido has nothing to do with the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards.
"Please note that Oskido was born in Brits, South Africa and was raised in Bulawayo, therefore he doesn't qualify for the nomination," Mathenga said.
Oskido is a darling of many in Bulawayo, where he hosts the biggest musical party — the Kalawa Homecoming Party every year on December 27. The party signals Oskido's "home coming just like any other South Africa based Zimbabwean who would be coming back home for the festive season".
For Bulawayo music followers who have always associated themselves with the "Big O" as Oskido is affectionately known, and taken pride in him, it comes as a shock and a disappointment that the Tsa Ma Ndebele singer was shunning Bulawayo.
The new developments have left the Kalawa Homecoming Party hanging in the air.
A source close to X-Mo Squad, the partners of Oskido in hosting the music fiesta said the "awards snub" might signal the end to the most followed gig on Bulawayo's entertainment calendar.
"If you noticed last year they hosted the event just to fulfill the calendar, but it was supposed to have been called off. After these issues with Oskido and Bulawayo, the organisers are considering calling it a day," the source said.
"Even if he [Oskido] decides to bring it back how will the people who thought he was one of them to look at him after he disowned them publicly when they were trying to honour him."
Oskido's father is Esaph Mdlongwa, a politician and former MP for Luveve.
The musician was born in the Oukasie Township (near Brits, South Africa) in 1967 and was educated in Bulawayo before returning to South Africa in 1987.
Playwright and Amakhosi founder Cont Mhlanga said the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards were not for the benefit of the arts industry, but for the organisers who are "seeking significance from the artistes".
He said it was imperative that the organisers do a research and ascertain what it entails to run an event of such a magnitude.
Efforts to contact Raisedon Baya, one of the organisers of the awards, were fruitless yesterday.