Tanzania music awards return but still slacky

Friday March 25 2022
Stamina,Wakazi, Damiani

Stamina, Wakazi and Damian Soul PHOTOS | FILE

By Ramadhani Ismail

Six years of waiting, the National Arts Council of Tanzania announced nominees for the Tanzania Music Awards (TMAs) to be celebrated on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

But despite taking such a long time off, many expected the new edition of TMA would have fewer flaws and be good in it. The 51 categories announced range from Hip Hop, Dance, Taarab, Reggae and Dancehall.

The nominations sparked a debate in the entertainment industry with some being glad with the long-waited Tanzania Awards.


The Good.

Since its launch in 1999, it has been one of the most iconic and historic events of Bongoflava. At that point only awards present were Kisima Music Awards in Kenya and The Pearl of Africa Music Awards in Uganda.

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The then Kilimanjaro Tanzania Music Awards were the first awards introduced to celebrate the genre of Bongo flava in the country.

Those years the Kili Awards were exciting moments for fans and players within the entertainment industry. Fashion, smiles and cheers filled the Mlimani City grounds, most looking forward to next year’s celebratory moment for music creativities.

Diamond’s nemesis, Harmonize, is thrilled for the return of TMAs. Konde gang president leads the pack as the best male bongo flavour artiste of the year, nominated alongside Marioo, Jux, Ben Pol, and Whozu.

“Awards are important, especially when they are originated from home. Despite a few flaws we can depict from them let’s take that as an opportunity to do better next time. But for now we are in and happy to have them on-board,” says Harmonize.

The Bakhresa singer persuaded his team not to ditch the Awards just for a few faults.

The vibrant former member of WCB has been nominated in the four other categories including Best male musician people choice on digital platform of the year, best male music performer of the year, best album of the year and best male musician of the year.

On the other hand, Hip-Hop artiste Fareed Kubanda, better known as Fid Q, says TMA will help artistes grow and be better known now that they have returned.

“TMAs were much-needed, participating in the awards means you’re choosing to grow, you are choosing to be known. Having awards in our homeland is the respect for artistes,” says Fid Q.

ACT-Wazalendo politician and Hip Hop artiste Webiro Wasira, alias ‘Wakazi’, says that having an award itself is an opportunity for the economic growth for both players in the industry and the country itself. As it attracts investors, who will in turn help artistes to earn money because many sponsors would eventually choose to take part in.

“We have been crying for awards for a far long time. Even honour in our music and names was almost fading,” notes Wakazi.


The bad

Like two sides to a coin, a number of complaints are raised over missing well-deserving artistes in different categories, mistakenly a renowned artiste as an up and coming to name a few.

The best upcoming male musician of the year category with artistes like Kussah, Kinata Mc, Lody Music, Rapcha and Damian soul on the nomination received lots of backlash as Damian Soul wasn’t supposed to be among the listed. Afro-fusion artiste Damian Soul has been in the industry for more than eight years and in 2015 his song, ‘Ni penzi’ was nominated for the ‘Best RnB song of the year’ in the same Awards, KTMAs.

“Branding me as an upcoming artiste is a big mistake and a humiliation in front of my fans,” said Damian.

Damian narrates that he submitted his song ‘Mapopo’ for the best song of the year category but to his surprise he found his name in the up and coming artiste category with his song nowhere to be seen in all the 51 categories.

Another blunder was leaving out Hip-Hop hit song ‘Baba’ by Stamina featuring Professor Jay let alone Stamina’s pulsating album dubbed Paradiso.

“I think there must have been a problem somewhere that needs to be solved,” said Stamina.

The National Arts Council of Tanzania (BASATA) agreed that there are some notable challenges

“It is undeniable that there are challenges in TMAs and we would love if artistes would come and pinpoint what needs to be changed or improved instead of pointing accusing fingers at each other,” says BASATA.


The absentees

Most other notable on TMA’s is the Bongoflava superstar, who has been nominated in several international awards, Diamond Platnumz and his entire team, missing in the TMAs catergories.

Some say he is simply scoffing the opportunity to be celebrated by his own. The Waah hit maker refused to take part in any of country’s Awards, claiming that the voting is unfair.

I recall in 2015 during Kili Music Awards, where the reality star, Diamond Platnumz, had led with more nominations than his long-time nemesis, Alikiba, but it turned out the Utu hit marker bagged most of them home, with Diamond going with one trophy out of his ten nominations.

Diamond lost ‘the best male artiste’ title at home but carried the same from the All Africa Music Award (Afrima) same year.

All eyes on April 2, with speculations of who wins who doesn’t filling the streets.