The Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMA) 2018 proves to be well on track with the recently concluded vetting process paving the way for the judging period which commenced last Tuesday. Entries that made it through the vetting process were sent to the judges who are set to take on the next two phases of the awards.
This year, the awards received a total of 978 entries setting the highest entry records since the inception of the NAMAs in 2011. Of the total entries received, 282 were reportedly disqualified. This was due to reasons including duplicate entries, failure to deliver physical material, songs or albums that were previously entered and albums that were less than 30 minutes in length.
Former executive chairman, Tim Ekandjo lauded the vetting committee for having diligently done their work and ensuring that only artists who comply with stipulated rules make it to the judging phase.
The NAMAs 2018 judging committee comprises of five international judges and four local judges, respectively. Sammy Forson (Ghana), Somoina Kimojino (Kenya), Sammy Thuo (Kenya), Chali Bravo (Zambia) and Olufunke Adebonojo (Benin and USA) make up the international constituent while Lischen Khachas, Che Ulenga, Freddy Taylor and Axali Doeseb are the local judges.
Award winning artist Venaune Ben Kandukira better known as Big Ben expressed that he still doesn’t see the need for international judges after having requested several times that the musicians get feedback more specifically from the international judges on the judging criteria. Big Ben is of the opinion that feedback will allow musicians to learn something from these international judges. However, to his disappointment, his plea hasn’t been attended to.
“Therefore, it is my view that if there is nothing to learn from these international judges then it makes no difference who judges us and they become of no use to me. If I do not know what they are thinking, if they are not going to contribute to my growth then they are of no good to me.
However, my request still stands that the Namibian music industry at this point still needs more education and if the NAMAs process is not giving feedback to help the musicians learn something and grow as producers, as singers or as performers then it will not work. The money is already not enough so the best we can do is to at least learn from the NAMAs which is still not happening,” opined Big Ben.
NAMAs executive chairperson, Umbi Karuaihe-Upi expounded by highlighting the role of international judges in bench marking the quality of the music against local and international standards.
“We have artists who are competing internationally which means that we have to get judges who can really look at the quality of our musicians and the NAMAs have raised the bar to that level. Our artists should be able to compete internationally and even surpass other artists in Africa and in the world,” she said.
Umbi further affirmed the ethics and morals of the awards stating that the NAMAs is an organisation that abides by the highest ethical and moral consideration.
“Our image is very important and therefore we will continue to use music as the language of unity and a language that keeps Namibia together. Therefore, the conduct of the musicians are very important and the NAMAs will continue to make sure that we preserve the good name of the artists as they take Namibia to the highest level both locally and internationally,” she assured.
Meanwhile, Tim reiterated the ethics stating that they will not compromise, at any stage with anybody. “We have rules and regulations and that is why we have various sessions with the artists,” he stated.
NAMAs 2018 are set to take place on 28th April, however the venue is yet to be announced before the end of January.