An interview with ZIMAA UK awards chairman Onismus Mposhi

With a few days before the Zimbabwe Music and Arts Awards (ZIMAA – UK) this coming Saturday, Nehanda Radio spoke with the chairman Onismus Mposhi. 

Theresa 'Shanky' Mushangazhike at the Zimaa UK 2013 Awards. Shanky alongside Jusa will be hosting the awards.
Theresa ‘Shanky’ Mushangazhike at the Zimaa UK 2013 Awards. Shanky alongside Jusa will be hosting the awards.

Thank you for joining us. Tell us about the preparations so far?

They are going very well sir. We have been working very hard on our entertainment line up which includes Shanky and the heritage survival band , Queen Mashie ( Geneva based) , Takura life ( Zim based) , made in ZWE, Munashe the comedian

Guests will sure be entertainment with a live band. The venue is the 4 star Holiday Inn Maidenhead windsor with 3 course dinner . They will be Red carpet full coverage and interviews by Zimbo Live TV.

Tell us about the concept. Some say these are music awards and yet you have non-music categories.

The full name of our organisation is the Zimbabwe Music and Arts Awards. Music being arguably the most popular art does have more categories than the others. We believe all arts are equal and therefore we should recognise the writers, designers, directors etc because all arts complement each other.

How are the nominees selected and winners decided?

We call out for nominations. A press release goes out to as many Zimbabwean news outlets as possible. This happens up to 6 months before the event and the message is reiterated via social media. 

We receive nominations from the public, artists are even allowed to nominate themselves. We then verify that artists nominated fit in our criteria which is stipulated on our website. In order to win we use a combination of the public vote and input from industry insiders.

In terms of the criteria are you essential an awards based in the U.K. considering only UK based Zimbabweans? What’s your target audience?

We started ZIMAA as a platform to honour and promote Zimbabwean arts in the UK. We felt that UK based artists were under-appreciated and largely unknown within their own community at the expense of their more prominent Zimbabwe based peers.

All this despite the fact that their work was of an equal standard. It is extremely difficult to be a full time artist in the diaspora, particularly in the UK where the consumer market for Zimbabwean music is fragmented and competition for professional record deals is very high. A lot of the artists you see nominated follow their art as a passion and hold down full time jobs. It is only fair that they are honoured for their sacrifice to bring joy to the people.

We have seen the proliferation of many different awards organisations. How do you see the ZIMAA in the context of the wider pool. What makes you unique?

As the pioneers of the U.K. Zimbabwean awards we pride ourselves on leading the wider pool by consistently developing our brand. We are also known for making a follow up of our winners to see how they are doing and we provide platforms for them to showcase themselves. We recently added a talent show case area on our website for nominees to promote their work. Our awards are focused on music and arts only which makes it easy for us to work alongside experts in that industry.

Finally, how are the awards funded?

The awards are mainly funded by Rise up investments which is a company we started 9 years ago to provide business services. 

Over the years rise up has done a lot of hands on business ventures such as retail under the banner of Wycombe Central Butchers , money transfers services in partnership with WorldLink and other synergies. We receive some funding from some consistent local businesses such as Chiltern Support, Dashwoods Accountants  etc.