Friday 23 April 2021
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Fortune favours Chikune

After the long and no doubt bitter battle following the awarding of Chikune as the Best Female Artist of the year, an arbitration process was set finally set In motion to resolve disputes between Colleen Tjikune aka Chikune and Sula Kyababa. The arbitration became necessary as this matter remained unsettled since the awards which took place in May this year.   The dispute evolved as to who is entitled to receive a prize – in particular N$100,000.00 cash as well as a Toyota Corolla motor vehicle to the value of N$275,000.00 since Ogopa Butterfly claimed they were entitled to some of the prize money since they “invested” heavily in Chikune before she left the label. The prizes were awarded to Chikune as winner of the Female Artist of the Year category in the 2016 Namibian Music Awards.

Sula and Chikune met at the beginning of 2014 when they entered into a written agreement in terms whereof Chikune would, with the assistance and under the Ogopa Butterfly record label, produce music for commercial purposes.

However, in an interview with this publication this week, Chikune mentions that she never received a copy of the agreement. Upon signing the contract, there was no copy available but a promise, which remained unfulfilled, was made that she would get her copy later on. “There was this one time I had an argument with them because I didn’t understand how the commission structure worked and Sula always had a way of saying” the contract says this and the contract says that. From memory I could remember most of the contract details but there nothing stated about expenses and who pays what. I was always told that it takes some time and it takes whatever to make some money. Even at the beginning of the year we did tours for Ogopa Butterfly but we weren’t paid. They told us that they were promotional tours and we were not supposed to be paid.”

In 2015, Chikune was awarded a prize at the NAMA for Best Single where a sum of N$30,000 prize money which was paid to Sula with Chikune’s consent. They then shared the prize money between them in terms of the provisions of the agreement between them. According to Chikune, the contract stipulates a 60/40 split. “Whatever show they organize it’s a 60/40 split depending on whether it is an internal show (Ogopa Butterfly show) it’s at 40/60 but I have never gotten paid for their shows.”

Chikune is said to have left the record label days before the annual music awards, a decision prompted by a number of stable administrative issues. According to information availed to this publication, on 12 April 2016 Chikune received an sms from stable manager Sula Kyababa’s personal assistant calling her in to sign a new contract as the old one expired in January 2016. Chikune in response enquired for her old contract which was never provided to her. Two days later she decided to leave the stable seeing that she was now free to go. Needless to say, this created a lot of friction which only got worse when Chikune won Best female artist of the Year 2016.

Excited beyond belief, Chikune started a process to take possession of her prize money and car.  At this stage, MTC refused to hand it over by stating that there is a dispute with her music label laying claim to the prize money and car.  After numerous consultative meetings with the two parties, MTC appointed an arbitrator to help resolve the matter.  Some of the verdict concluded last week reads as follows :

“In fact, given the evidence the album in question was entered into the 2016 Namibian Music Awards with the knowledge and consent (in so far as it may have been required), albeit express or tacit, of the respondent, who claims to be the holder of the copyright. Any prize awarded by the Namibian Music Awards is unrelated to the issue of, and compensation in respect of, copyright,” indicates the Arbitration Award.
The arbitrator concluded with reference to the NAMA rules for 2016, of which rule 2A stated that only natural persons can enter for the awards, thereby excluding corporate entities such as the Ogopa Butterfly. Furthermore, Rule B stipulates that prizes are awarded to the respective artists who win in each category.

These rules become an agreement between the Namibian Music Awards and the respective artists who enter the awards and as such are binding as between the Namibian Music Awards and the respective artists. The respondent has acquired no rights whatsoever in terms of the aforesaid agreement and it certainly has no enforceable rights vis-à-vis the Namibian Music Awards to receive a prize awarded to an artist.

Wherefore, I make the following award:
The prize of N$100,000.00 and the Toyota Corolla motor vehicle to the value of N$275,000.00 is to be handed over to the claimant, Colleen Hedwig Tjikune (a.k.a Chikune).”

Settling comfortably into married life to hubby Joachim, Chikune allows a sneak insight into her private world.  Joachim tells the story of their first meeting at school in Cape Town and remembers his surprise that this truly beautiful girl was from Karibib. After making a proposal which remained unanswered, Chikune moved to Johannesburg but they met yet again.  It appears third time lucky did it for them when they met in Windhoek again.  It was in fact one night after one of her shows when Joachim proposed marriage on his one knee. In May this year, their baby boy Jonathan was born.

“My journey as The Best Female Artist has been a nightmare since but I’m so happy that this is all over. At the moment I am really not happy with the NAMAs but I will continue singing,” said Chikune.

The songstress who broke into the industry in 2014 following her winnings in Los Angeles as the Senior Vocalist of the year at the World Championships of the Performing Arts in 2012 said that she is busy with a collaboration project with an international artist who she could not mention however revealing that she is African. “I also want to release a single by the end of the year as well,” she concludes.

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