Tanzania Music Awards break new ground: making history in African music landscape

This year’s Tanzania Music Awards are set to be aired on MTV and BET television networks. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • This collaboration aims not only to honour Tanzanian musical excellence but also to foster cross-cultural exchanges and networking among African artistes.

The announcement of the Tanzania Music Awards 2024 season being televised on MTV Base and BET has ignited a spectrum of reactions from stakeholders, underscoring the significance of this development in the country’s music landscape.

While some hail it as a pivotal step forward, others question its productivity.

According to a prominent music stakeholder who chose to remain anonymous, such initiatives should have initially unfolded on African media platforms to bolster local recognition before venturing onto the international stage.

Emphasizing the importance of building a solid presence within Africa before expanding globally, the stakeholder highlighted the potential of leveraging the vast viewership of these television channels to enhance international recognition of African music.

“It would have been beneficial to prioritise establishing a strong presence for our artistes within Africa before venturing into international markets. Considering the global viewership of these television channels, promoting our music within Africa first would have significantly enhanced its recognition on the international stage,” he shares.

On the same line, music enthusiasts who DJ at nightclubs commended the council’s move but stressed the need for enhanced support for local artistes.

“With a focus on visibility abroad and on foreign television, especially in the United States, my perspective as a stakeholder is that we should prioritise strengthening the industry itself, ensuring that local artistes gain recognition and sustain themselves financially from their work first and foremost,” says DJ Philip.

He further emphasised the importance of addressing the challenges facing artistes while also focusing on visibility and promotion.

In contrast, multi-award-winning Singeli artiste Sholo Mwamba lauded BASATA’s efforts in globalising local talent, underscoring the importance of this development in advancing the music industry.

“This marks a major advancement for our music, and BASATA deserves ample congratulations for their actions,” he shares.

On the other hand, music producer and hip-hop singer, Mr T Touch, believes that this initiative will contribute significantly to the global promotion of Bongo Flava.

“Around the world, many predominantly recognise African music as originating from South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana. However, our country has also made significant strides in the music scene. Therefore, I believe it’s time for fans to direct more attention to the realm of Bongo Flava. This new chapter, if it’s going as they promised, will also pave the way to the music scene,” he shares.

Baba-hit maker, Bonventure Kabogo, who goes by the stage name Stamina, regards the collaboration between MTV Base and BET for the TMA Awards as a bold initiative to showcase local talents to a global audience.

“Numerous artistes in the country are performing remarkably, yet accessing international exposure remains challenging. Therefore, with the introduction of this new platform through the awards, it will further enhance and cultivate prestige within our music industry,” elaborates Stamina.

He believes this platform will enhance the prestige of the music industry by providing much-needed international exposure to local artistes.

On his part, speaking about why he withdrew himself from the Tanzania Music Award, Diamond Platnumz shared that the awards lacked fairness.

“I don’t want to be awarded out of pity, if I don’t deserve it, deny me, and if I deserve it, award it to me. The main reason our awards were halted was because artistes were being mistreated. Often, award committees have a tendency to favour certain artistes,” he shares.

Diamond further added that, by standing on the principles of fairness, where the deserving receive and the undeserving are denied, TMA will be highly esteemed and will uplift Tanzanian music.

“I congratulate them sincerely. I recently saw that they announced that the awards will be broadcast on different international stations, and from the organisation’s perspective, I believe they are prepared in a way that will greatly benefit Tanzanian music. So, I congratulate them and wish them all the best,” he explains.

Christina Mosha, Vice Chairperson of TMA, announced that this season’s winners would receive monetary prizes, further elevating the stature of the awards.

She expressed excitement about the upcoming event, promising a sophisticated and high-standard ceremony befitting the occasion.

“We’re upgrading and making the awards very classy, maintaining a very high standard. Aside from what the artistes will receive, the awards ceremony itself will also be lavish,” she shares.

As anticipation builds for the 2024 TMAs , it’s evident that this year’s edition promises to be a game-changer, ushering in a new era of recognition in the country’s vibrant music industry.