By: Sylvester Munanjala, Lusaka Zambia
The National Arts Council of Zambia (NAC) might soon lose its chair person following criticism she does not treat all artists the same.
Some artists have been calling for Mulenga Kapwepwe to be replaced accusing her of being biased for supporting mostly well established musicians or chart toppers and not new emerging artists who need more support.
Musicians heading the anti Kapwepwe crusade hold that in recent years, the council keeps giving awards to a particular set of musicians even when they don’t deserve to win. An example they point out is last year’s music awards when the XYZ Crew Founder and CEO Slap Dee picked six honours in one night and his close rival Marcky II of Kopala Crew managed to win only one award.
They also cite the postponement of last year’s Born and Bred Awards by the council without giving any reasonable excuse for their action.
Critics believe the ceremony was postponed because rapper Slap Dee did not have any new video to take part in the contest. Apparently, the event was only scheduled after Slap Dee released a video for his latest hit ‘Remember’. The video was nominated in various categories.
Opponents of Kapwepwe often take to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to vent their frustrations.
Slap Dee who is one of the musicians backing Kapwepwe’s stay as Chair last week stated that calls for the removal of the NAC chair were unnecessary. Mwila Musonda (aka Slap Dee) said that most of the posts on social media criticizing Kapwepwe were childish and lacked any hard evidence. He said critics of the NAC chair could use a more formal complain procedure and not take to social media to tarnish the image of the NAC chairperson.
The hip-hop musician often claims that N.A.C is a vital part of the arts industry in Zambia and that he (Slap Dee) maintains good relationships with most influential people in the music industry including Innocent Kalaluka, main organizer of the famous Born and Bred Awards ceremony, one of Zambia’s biggest award ceremonies.
The Arts Council was created to promote the arts and welfare of musicians/artists in a country that does not have a dedicated culture ministry. Apart from funding Zambian artistic endeavours and stakeholders in the industry, the council also organizes most of the country’s biggest award ceremonies including the famous Zambian Music Awards, Born and Bred Awards and Ngoma Award ceremonies