SOME artists in Bulawayo have accused organisers of the recently-held third edition of the African Influencer Awards of favouring certain recipients.
The awards ceremony, held at Impala Car Rentals along Khami Road in Bulawayo last week, was expected to be a night of excellence, but turned out to be an evening of disgruntlement.
Several nominees were unhappy about the turn of events, alleging award-buying and vote-rigging on the night.
One award nominee Pardon Khanye, who was vying for the Excellency in the Fashion Industry gong, stormed out in the middle of the event.
“I was very disappointed with the winners of the night. Even with other categories where people with less than 2 000 followers on outstanding social media won awards,” he told NewsDay Life & Style.
“Well, the organisers might have done their research. Maybe they knew what they wanted because to me it did not make sense that someone with more than 20 comments on their post loses an award.”
Khanye’s sentiments were supported by some artists who questioned the nomination of Tafadzwa Sibanda popularly known as Taffielynn.
This is not the first time Sibanda has courted controversy. It also happened last year when she won at the Zim Stars Awards. Many artists feel she has made no significant contribution to the arts industry other than posting her photos on social media.
“From the sitting arrangements it became clear who was going to win as the “mbingas” were made to sit alone on their tables,” said another artist who preferred not to be named.
Khanye also criticised the awards organisers for making nominees pay to attend the awards ceremony.
“In future l think the nomination and nominees themselves should do proper research on what they are getting into. How can one pay at an awards ceremony if he or she is a nominee?
“The awards are meant to celebrate great work done by these individuals and it makes no sense for one to pay to be celebrated. They might as well host a party at their private homes and celebrate themselves.”
Away from the controversy, Khanye admitted that the set-up and reception were on point, the red carpet was amazing, and the catering was of high quality.
The awards host was Moris Touch, while Soulmates actor Braydan Moyo produced and co-hosted the red-carpet alongside Shadel Noble, Methembe Ndlovu and Atipa Busuman.
Many artists and socialites from the City of Kings dressed up for the occasion. Guests were treated to music as theyate and drank the night away. It was indeed a night of fashion, gongs and fancy food.
Among the night’s winners was previous winner Royalty Skin Care founder Mercy Mabiza (Excellence in the Beauty Industry). Young Women for ED senior leader Maxine Tekere who contested for councillor post in Bulawayo during the August 23 elections (Community Service Excellence).
Former Iyasa dancer-turned-fitness instructor Marcel Mbongeni Nxumalo was a runner-up for the Sport Excellence gong. Newsday