By Vasco Chaya
Controversial gospel artiste Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave’s call for the top three female artistes on the annual Radio Zimbabwe Coca-Cola Top 50 to be given prizes regardless of their position on the chart has divided opinion among local women artistes.
Fungisai, who, at number 10 was the top-placed female musician on the chart, made the suggestion after Zora star Leonard Zhakata claimed the top three positions and the entire $6 000 prize money on offer.
But instead of rallying behind Fungisai, some female artistes believe the call runs contrary to the spirit of fair play and equality between men and women.
Bassist and singer Edith WeUtonga, who is also the president of the Zimbabwe Musicians Union, believes affirmative action has no place in the music industry.
“I think we are all musicians when it comes to radio charts. The issue of quotas or gender holds no water here; it does not apply. Rather, it is our duty as artistes to market our music to the public. We need to mobilise our fans to vote for us, that’s all,” said WeUtonga.
Rising artiste Jean Masters concurs with WeUtonga.
“We are all equal and I do not think men have some advantages we lack as women but it is only that we need to work extremely hard in this industry. No matter how busy one can be, it cannot affect one’s talent,” she said.
Other artistes, who include gospel artiste Jennifer Maneni, are in support of Fungisai’s call for preferential treatment for women on the Radio Zimbabwe Coca-Cola Top 50.
“If we check in history, we find out that there are no or very few female artistes who have managed to clinch the top positions on the annual radio charts; we always play second fiddle. Rewarding women artistes in charts such as Radio Zimbabwe Coca-Cola Top 50 can motivate women artistes to work hard so that they can eventually end up beating men,” Maneni said.
Urban grooves star Pauline Gundidza wants relevant stakeholders to concede that the playing ground is not level.
“Though we admit that being women is neither a disability nor a setback, I urge organisers and sponsors of radio charts to also consider the plight of female musicians.
“They should also reward female musicians differently from men as women need to take care of household chores, taking care of both husband and children.
“The same cannot be said of men who can afford to spend the entire day or week in studios, perfecting their music,” she said. Daily News