Heavy hitters oversee Wene music awards panel


LAST week I mentioned the introduction of the new music awards Wene. At a Harare press conference earlier in the week, Rooftop Promotions board director Ray Mawerera announced the six-member awards adjudicators’ board.

Paul Brickhill, founder of Book Café and Pamberi Trust is chairperson, Debbie Metcalfe the foremost music promoter in Zimbabwe and Africa possibly, is a part of this team. Tuku’s talent is acknowledged. But the Beatles needed manager Brian Epstein to break into America and, therefore the entire world, so Tuku needed Debbie Metcalfe to break into the world markets so many years and albums down the line.

She knows what “quality” is. Others are Nigel Munyati a founding trustée of the Zimbabwe International Film Trust and Joyce Jenje Makwenda an acclaimed documentary filmmaker, writer, researcher of the formative years of Zimbabwe’s urban music.

Fred Zindi, musician, music promoter (remember Frontline Kids), professor of psychology and former board member of the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association and local arts point man and Zimura chairperson Albert Nyathi are in the “weighty” board.

Nyathi, is a renowned poet and arts administrator. He has a list of sterling credits including mentoring some of Zimbabwe’s top musicians such as jazz songstress Prudence Katomeni and Mateo. I can’t think of any one more qualified to judge our arts in Zimbabwe than this crew. If it were up to me, I would put Cont Mhlanga in as well. Besides that, I am queasy about the name “Wene”.

I consider it a missed opportunity.

They could have called it something national like Zimbabwe Annual Music Awards or something. Still, it’s “positive vibrations”
Showbiz court room drama : The art of law?

The showbiz Oscar Pistorius murder case has garnered global media attention and that of law students such as myself. Will his lawyer, the now globally famous Barry Roux prove to be the one who artfully carries the day for Pistorius? Not since the OJ Simpson case has a murder trial generated this much publicity.

There are parallels to be drawn from both cases. Both involve women who were presumably murdered by the men in their lives. Both athletes have limelight hogging lawyers. Simpson walked, largely because of his lawyer, the late Johnnie Cochrane’s courtroom antics. During that trial Cochrane coined the phrase: “If the glove won’t fit, the jury must acquit” concerning a pivotal piece of evidence found at the crime scene believed to have been worn by OJ Simpson while handling the murder weapon. Simpson’s hand proved to have been too big for the glove — raising further doubt as to whether he was the perpetrator of the crime. The prosecution in the Pistorius case has yet to prove intention.

Maybe for Pistorius it will also come down to the legal team. But Simpson walked in the end because the law does not function merely on the basis of appearances. There must ideally be a factual, legal basis for anyone to be convicted of murder. Time will tell whether Pistorius will walk free as OJ Simpson, a former American football icon did.

Roux rap song
Ultimately, Pistorius’s fate will be decided by Justice Thokozile Masipa, a journalist-turned-lawyer and now judge alongside two assessors. Advocate Roux’s cross-examination style regarding former chief investigator Hilton Botha in the Pistorius case has been likened in past media as a master class and evocative of watching “a baby seal being clubbed to death”. In a dream case for lawyers, advocate Roux looms large because of his courtroom histrionics and “playing for keeps”.

The radio disc jockey and the famous Mr Roux South African station 94,7 Highveld Stereo has been playing a rap song which is the brainchild of breakfast radio producer Brad O’Regan featuring lines paraphrased from Barry Roux:

I put it to you, that it’s true/everything you say, I will misconstrue/I’m Barry Roux and I put it to you/ten times in a row just to confuse you/Don’t hate me any which way/I only make 100k a day.

The world’s morbid fascination aside, one thing for sure is that Barry Roux is law school’s current biggest recruitment advert. Moreover, lost in the media maelstrom is a grieving family: the Steenkamps. Heaven help us all!

New local film on the cards
Creative Native, a film wing of Daves Guzha’s Rooftop Promotions is poised to produce another feature film entitled Wedding Night to be directed by filmmaker Joe Njagu. Guzha will be assistant director on the project. Joe Njagu has directed movies Lobola and The Gentleman.

The production on the film will begin in April 2014 and due for release in winter. Guzha hopes that his movie will be one people “talk about for years to come”. I hope instead that it will be one that will pay its producers and most importantly its actors and the musicians who score the film sound track! Our local artists need always to think about the bottom line. Otherwise, we will forever hear stories such as Enoch Chihombori’s, concerning the loss making Gringo from which pirates harvested massively from while the filmmaker got zilch!

You saw how he wept at the National Arts Merit Awards lamenting the powers’ “failure” to help him stop the “looting” of his intellectual property. Well, it’s a jungle out there and you need to learn from the Naijas: Pirate your own work straight to the streets. Have your own vendors to flog your DVDs straight after release. The movie theatres belong in Europe and the US.

In most of Africa, it seems that movie houses are now for youngsters who just want to make out and not for generating sales for movie makers!

Learn from the best: the Tyler Perry File
Local artistes can learn from the 43-year-old African American filmmaker Tyler Perry who is world famous for his Madea character.

Tyler Perry is a storyteller, a playwright like Raisedon Baya and Cont Mhlanga, who tapes his stage plays as well as turning them into full-fledged movies. Initially black film icons such as Spike Lee were fans of Perry. Later on, Lee attacked Perry for his caricature of black folk and slamming the Madea franchise for “buffonery” and wrongly portraying or rather advancing negative stereotypes of black folk in America.

But as of June 2011, the Perry films have made $500 million worldwide and as we say in this column, to borrow a phrase, the numbers don’t lie.

A new film called The Single Moms Club which opened to global audiences on the March 2014 14. Despite the criticisms levelled at Perry, he retains full copyright control of all his works under the corporate name Very Perry Films.

The story would not be complete without mentioning, however, that though very creative recognised the need to work with the Hollywood corporate machinery. In his case, his movies are distributed and co-produced by Lionsgate Entertainment. On January 9 2014, Perry inked a deal with Oprah’s OWN network to submit a fourth scripted series based on the latest feature film The Single Moms Club which is set to premiere later in the year.

Ultimately, Tyler Perry has gone back home to Atlanta, Georgia, US, where he is has built a massive production studio to produce his movies in house thereby creating many jobs for his local community.

More power to Perry. I am just eyeing Amakhosi Township Square and am thankful for Mhlanga’s sterling efforts in our cultural industries. Maybe, just maybe . . .

Outfit Band comes out to party
This local jazz ensemble is one of Bulawayo’s finest. Indeed they are up with the best in Zimbabwe. They belong at all the major stages globally.

On the March 27 they launch their album at Horizon Club. I would urge them to consider a Harare launch as well. Be there or be square.