There were jeers the moment Miracle Chinga-Moffat—daughter to the departed gospel songstress Grace Chinga—was declared Best Female Artist in the Nyasa Music Awards (NMA) inaugural gala held last Friday at Comesa Hall in Blantyre.
Some fans wondered whether the organisers had announced a wrong person in the right category or vice-versa.
Miracle Chinga for Best Female or Best Upcoming Artist category? They wondered. But at the end of the day, it was true that she had scooped the Best Female award as people witnessed her receiving her trophy on stage.
In her speech, the skeptical Miracle said she was overwhelmed with the award.
“It’s unbelievable that I have won this award. I am speechless,” she said.
All along, controversy has been a common feature in different events, playing a devastating role to the otherwise good occasions in the country. And this did not spare the NMA. The highlight of the controversy was failure by the organisers to invite to the event one of the winners, Malinga Mafia.
In its statement, Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM) damned NMA for lacking thorough consultations and erroneous categorisation of artists.
The statement, signed by MUM president the Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango, reads in part: “We noted with regret that the Union was not consulted at the outset of the project. Nyasa Music Company and any other practitioners in the music industry need to know that MUM is the organisation vested with the overarching responsibility on all issues to do with music in Malawi. This is well covered in the articles of its constitution which is legally recognised by the Government of the Republic of Malawi.”
The statement further said that lack of consultation has created a lot of anomalies which ranged from misallocation of genres and erroneous identification of musicians that merited nomination. This threw the whole exercise into confusion and resulted into limited support and recognition by the music fraternity.
On erroneous categories, MUM stipulates: “As stated above, the issue of categorising musical artists is under the onus of the Union. It came as a surprise that Nyasa Music Company went ahead categorising musical artists single-handedly much to the detriment of the objectives of the whole exercise.”
It is inevitable for people or some quarters to throw certain efforts or exercises into blame game whenever something goes wrong. But the question that begs a lot of answers is: Is MUM proactive in dealing with issues to do with music in the country? Where was it when Nyasa Music Awards were flying adverts for the event?
“Actually, I approached them before the awards ceremony but they didn’t avail themselves; hence, the mess up,” said Mhango.
But the organisers of the NMA stood their ground that they consulted widely before nominating the artists.
“We did our homework, that’s why we came up with a colourful event. Nyasa Music Awards deserves a pat on the shoulder because they have even introduced a monetary token of appreciation to artists on top of the trophies. Our mission is to motivate artists in the country to do better so that they take their art to international level and represent our country better,” said Mathambo Lowole, one of the organisers of NMA.
He added that the inugural has a lot goodies which excited many people but wondered why critics are putting much emphasis on the nagatives.
Of course, MUM has condemned the organisers of NMA for lacking consultations and erroneous categorisation of artists. But what action have they taken to stop the malpractice?
“We are going to be tough by vetting all music-related activities such as awards and competitions to ensure that they are in line with our standards. We believe the vetting process will help to standardise things in the country,” said Mhango, adding voting system, which leaves a lot to be desired, will be scrutinised as well.However, other musicians urged their mother body to be proactive.n