Gospel awards organisers decry lack of aid for event

Organisers of the first Nelson Mandela Metro Gospel Awards have expressed disappointment at the lack of fund support for the event.

Gospel singers and event organisers Khumbulani Qekema, 34, and Thulani Nanise, 34, plan to host the awards at the Nangoza Jebe Hall in New Brighton on October 21.

But they feel that the municipality could help more with funding, which could make the event bigger and better.

“Artists in the metro are not motivated because there is no one motivating them,” Nanise said. “So, we have taken this on as our responsibility and decided to host the awards.”

Mayoral spokesman Sibongile Dimbaza said mayor Athol Trollip had a deep respect for the metro’s arts and culture movement as it formed part of the tourism basket, which showcased the talent the Bay prides itself on.

“It is thus disingenuous on the part of those who accuse the municipality of not making inroads to support the arts, because there have been engagements between the relevant department and metro artists to find better ways of working together,” Dimbaza said.

Qekema and Nanise are to fund the awards from their own pockets, without sponsorship.

Qekema said: “We’ve been singing for a very long time – and there have been cases where artists sang for their entire lives without receiving any support.”

He said the music industry had the potential to change lives financially and they expected the municipality to endorse this.

Qekema said a musician did not work alone but needed backing, which could be as many as six singers and a full band.

Nanise, also the chairman of Nelson Mandela Bay Gospel Artists forum, said: “I started the forum after more than 20 gospel artists were each paid an amount of R7 000 about two years ago and the late award-winning gospel star Sfiso Ncwane received R200 000, even though we all performed on the same stage. “Our metro does not support gospel.” Nanise said one of the reasons for creating the awards ceremony was to give musicians in the Bay metro more hope.

The pair said the last time they had approached the municipality’s sports, recreation, arts and culture department they were told there was no money.

Performances on the night are due to include Andile B and Zodwa, alongside traditional dancing and poetry.

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