• Surprise winners
  • Boycotts
  • Late kick-off

Trust Khosa, Assistant News Editor

SURPRISE faces on winners’ podium, unexplained winners’ last minute boycott, punctuality deficiencies…

This aptly sums up the much-hyped Zimbabwe Music Awards ceremony held at Newlands Country Club in the capital on Saturday.

After all the hype created during the build-up to the event which returned after a long lull, it was every guest’s wish that the glamour  and glitz we saw on the red carpet  would manifest into more cheers than jeers.

So dapper were some male guests among them fashionista and journalist Tafadzwa Zimoyo (The Boss) who went out of their way to impress on TV and cameras.


As for most of the ladies, they were on point with some wearing those trademark and shiny floor lengthy gowns while others preferred tiny and skimpy dresses which revealed part of their flesh.

Despite late kickoff, which has become the staple at most awards ceremonies on home turf, it really promised to be a night to remember inside the main auditorium.

For a change at awards ceremony, sanity prevailed outside the show venue, thanks to the friendly security personnel and ushers hired on the big night.

Alas, that was not to be inside the auditorium as all the gloss nearly turned the event into a big farce owing to the last minute hiccups.

It was the last minute boobs like late kickoff and of course the shocking choice of winners in some categories which rendered its outcome a ‘fraud’ if not a mockery to ‘creatives’ who believe justice was not done.


Although the event was billed to start as early as 5pm, by 8:30pm guests were just perched on their seats with no clue when the event would start.

Some resorted to buying drinks on the cash bar to kill the time while those who could not afford remained glued on the big screen hoping for the night to start.

It took the shrewd MC of the night Chief Koti and his partner of the day Miss Vicky to win back hearts of guests who had begun losing interest in the event.

It also took Suluman Chimbetu, Tendai Chimombe, Ndux Malax Junior and Chengeto Brown’s performances to usher guests into the party mood.


For a change after hours of inactivity inside the auditorium, guests had something to cheer on as the youthful entertainers ushered out all their artistic verve.


Like any other awards ceremony, there are bound to be big winners and of course undeserving losers.

Youthful crooners Ishan and HKD boss Freeman emerged biggest winners at the event.

Ishan amassed three gongs – Best Male Artiste, Best New Comer and Best Afro Pop while Freeman bagged the Best Zim Dancehall Artiste, Album of the Year and Best Music Video respectively.

However, Ishan sent tongues wagging after he was crowned Best Male Artiste of the year.

It still remains a mystery how he managed to pip other stalwarts who proved their mettle beyond words.

Without taking anything from Ishan, it’s still debatable on how he managed to outshine other geniuses who were vying for the Best Male gong.

Even his facial expression showed it all when he walked to the winners podium as he was a bit nervous.

Another category which has since divided opinions was the ZIM HIP HOP category that was eventually won by Takura.

The Mungandidi singer was pitted against other top rappers like T Gonzi, King 98, Asaph and Cal_vin.


It also still remains a subject for another day on how he managed to outshine the other quartet, especially Ti Gonzi whose resurrection is there for them to see.


On a night when many thought gongs were being awarded on merit, it also emerged that sympathy worked for others.

One of the presenters made it clear that the late Andy Brown was also awarded after they realised he had never won a gong on home soil till he died.

Without taking anything from the late Andy Brown, the presenter erred by telling guests that they decided to honour the late crooner after realising that his cabinet was empty.

Surely, they could have done better by not pre-empting the criteria they used to award him posthumously.

It killed the whole essence of awards as sympathy was prioritised on the expense of merit.

The same goes to Nicholas “Madzibaba” Zakaria who despite being a top mentor did not deserve the Best Sungura Award.

He was drawn in the same category with new comer Mukoma Panga who made it into the top three of 2019 Radio Zimbabwe Top 50, Peter Moyo  and  Greatman.

Those who follow sungura would argue that Madzibaba might have been rewarded on sympathy basis since he is on record bemoaning being sidelined by awards organisers.


While the 2020 edition is done and dusted, ZIMA organisers still have plenty of work to do after being embarrassed by the majority of winners who snubbed the event.

The issue needs to be addressed urgently as the cancer is likely to spread to other awards.

It’s common that most of the artistes take a breather during the first month of the year and their presence would have added more gloss.

Notable names that snubbed the event comprise Winky D, Freeman, Gemma Griffitts, DJ Stavo, Sylent Nqo,  Andy Muridzo, Nicholas Zakaria and rapper Takura.

Netherlands based diva Vimbai Zimuto who was not moved after missing to on the winners’ podium flew to Harare for the awards just to show her commitment.

She returned yesterday around lunch time with her head held high after wowing guests at the event.

Whether artistes respected local awards or not, the majority of winners left many guests disappointed as they missed the event despite attending the rehearsals.

This is an area where ZIMA needs to work on to avoid another embarrassment in 2021 where sponsors, guests  and fans would be expecting to here from their favourite artistes.

Below is the full list of winners:


Best Female Artist of the Year
* Gemma Griffiths

Best Male Artist of the Year
* Ishan

Best Group/ Duo of the Year
* Fusion 5 Mangwiro

Best Newcomer of the Year
* Ishan

Best Album of the Year
* Gango – Freeman

* Freeman

* Nicholas Zakaria

Hip Hop
* Takura

* Ishan

Contemporary Gospel
* Janet Manyowa

Traditional Gospel
* Mambo Dhuterere

R&B & Soul
* Gemma Griffiths

* Willis waTaffi Afirika

Dance (House/Gqom/Kwaito/EDM)
* DJ Stavo

* Clement Magwaza

Traditional Folk (Chinyakare/Chimurenga)
* Andy Muridzo

Traditional Folk (Ezomdabu/Imbube)
* Indosakusa

Best Alternative
* Sylent Nqo

Special Awards
Zim Icon – Retro Female
* Chiwoniso Maraire

Zim Icon – Retro Male
* Simon Chimbetu

Lifetime Achievement Award
* Andy Brown

Best International Zim Artist
* Sha sha

Best Collaboration
* ‘Mugarden’ – Winky D ft. Gemma

Best DJ
* DJ Stavo

Best Promoter
* Impala Car Rental

Best Corporate Sponsors
* Econet Wireless

Technical Awards
Best Music Video
* ‘Ngaibake’ – Freeman ft. Alick Macheso

Videographer of the Year
* Umsebenzi Ka Blaqs

Producer of the Year
* Oskid

Engineer of the Year
* GT Beats

Public Vote Category
Song of the Year
* ‘Murgaden’ – Winky D ft. Gemma Griffiths