HARARE – Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has forked out $80 000 in prize money to local artistes who participated in the theme song competition for the forthcoming United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly.
A song by Suluman Chimbetu, Audius Mutawarira, Chiwoniso Maraire, Mono Mukundu, Albert Nyathi in conjunction with Russo Productions claimed the $30 000 top prize in the competition for theme songs for the 20th session to be hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in August.
Veteran musician Tanga Wekwasando took home $15 000 for being judged second best with third-placed Jairos Hambahamba being awarded $12 500.
Rising gospel star Jennifer Maneni, a former backing vocalist for Don Chibaya, Mercy Mutsvene and Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave, will smile all the way to the bank after pocketing the $10 000 fourth prize.
Fifth-placed Bob “Headmaster” Nyabinde who netted $7 500 and Rute Mbangwa who got $5 000, complete the list of UNWTO theme song winners.
Karikoga Kaseke, the ZTA chief executive officer, while congratulating the winners, revealed that his organisation has penned a memorandum of agreement with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) on the promotion of the Zimbabwean Tourism sector.
“We had overwhelming responses from artistes besides a short notice that we gave them for the competition,” said Kaseke.
“There is going to be an album for the event to be released before end of month made up of the winning top six. I believe that through music we can market our country. I concur to one scholar who said that music is the universal language of mankind.”
Nicholas Moyo, the NACZ deputy director, was the chief judge of more than 30 entries submitted by artistes.
Moyo, led a team of seven adjudicators.
“Due to the short time we gave our artistes to come up with theme songs for UNWTO, we are going to ask these artistes to polish up their songs so that we will disseminate polished work that will market our country,” said the NACZ deputy director.
Musician Maneni, who claimed the fourth prize in the UNWTO theme song competition, feels honoured to have won a prize in a competition that featured so many top musicians.
“It came as a shock to me because all along I was in South Africa and came back on Monday which was the deadline — I did my song in a space of one hour,” said Maneni.