Auxilia Katongomara Showbiz Reporter
BULAWAYO’S representatives in the Chibuku Road to Fame national finals, Sounds of the Universe, have been disqualified for failing to follow National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) procedures and taking their complaints about the competition to the Press.
NACZ communications officer, Catherine Mthombeni, said the group was disqualified for their unsavoury comments in the media about last year’s competitions.
“The group has been disqualified for their conduct of bringing the competition into disrepute. Immediately after winning the provincial finals, the group chose to go to the Press to lodge their complaints about the Chibuku Road to Fame finals of 2013 instead of following laid down procedures,” she said.
In one of the articles published by this newspaper last month, Sounds of Universe accused organisers of the talent search of ill-treating them at last year’s national finals. The group said they were not satisfied with last year’s outcome where they took fifth position at the finals which were won by The Way from Mashonaland East.
“We were not happy with the way they treated us last year. First, we were denied to go on stage for a sound check yet other groups were allowed.
“Second, we were not told who won the event. We were surprised to see the winners being handed the prize money without an announcement,” founder of the group, Cosmas Mpofu, was quoted as saying.
Mthombeni emphasised the need for professionalism in the arts sector, saying her organisation, in a bid to professionalise the arts, was encouraging participants to be professional in their conduct.
“Professionalism does not only benefit the arts stakeholders but also the nation at large,” said Mthombeni.
Asked if the $1,000 prizemoney the group was given when it won the provincial finals would be taken away, Mthombeni said they could keep it. She said they were free to enter the provincial competitions again next year.
In an interview yesterday, Mpofu said they had been notified of the decision by the NACZ and had since accepted it.
“They told us about the disqualification and we are okay with it since it’s their decision. We just have to accept it and move on with life,” he said.
Mpofu said they were geared for the national finals but there was nothing they could do as they had been disqualified.
As a result of their misconduct, Sounds of Universe have been replaced by this year’s Chibuku Road to Fame Bulawayo province 1st runners up, Facebook Brothers. The group will now travel to Harare next month for the national finals taking place at the Glamis Stadium on September 27.
Facebook Brothers are not new faces to the talent search as they had an opportunity to sample the national finals in 2012 after having won the provincial finals that year. They, however, did not make if far at the finals.
The groups’ director, Victor Newende, said they were happy to have another opportunity to represent the city at the national finals.
“We entered the competition with the aim of winning the competition and we have been given a chance to shine again and we will utilise it.
“We have already begun preparing for the national finals as it is only a few weeks to go,” he said.
Newende said they had since received support from Ndux Junior and Chase Skuza who are mentoring them ahead of the national finals.
“We are looking forward to winning this time around. Last time it was very tough for us but we now have the experience and confidence we lacked during our initial appearance,” he said.
Winners of the national finals will be awarded a monetary prize and a recording contract for their debut album.